Community Grieves Loss of Father Son Duo

Many Jackson County residents are still in shock over the sudden deaths of a prominent father-son duo who lost their lives in a tragic car crash Friday night.
News 25’s Katarina Luketich spoke with some of those close to Keith Joseph Jr. and his father, Keith Sr., as they reflect on the impact these two had on those around them.
Keith Joseph Jr., or MJ as his friends know him, will be remembered as an all-star defensive player with, what Pascagoula coach Lewis Sims describes as, a focus and work ethic that drove others around him to elevate their play to match his level of effort. While a leader on the gridiron, his playbook extended beyond the field. “He was a guy that on Friday, when everyone else is watching a movie or listening to music, he’d come to ask to be in the coach’s meeting room so he could work on a research paper or read or do some homework and get ahead,” said Sims.
It was that drive to succeed that helped MJ pursue his dream of following in his father’s footsteps and landing a spot on the Mississippi State football team. His father, Keith Sr., had a huge impact on MJ’s life, as evidenced by the family pastor who remembers the two as inseparable. Reverend Larry Hawkins Sr. said, “Keith was MJ’s hero and Keith was just so proud to have MJ as a son and he just embodied what a father would want to transfer and pass on to his son.”
Coach Sims said, “I don’t think he ever missed a practice, missed a game. He was always there for him. Whenever he needed a ride, he was there. Whenever he needed anything, he was there for him. He loved his son unconditionally.”
Today, the Panthers gathered together to pray and grieve the loss of two men who meant so much to their organization. As time passes, they will continue to rely on the strength of each other. “You lean on each other. We have a band of brothers. We understand that in anything in life, you depend on those around you and we have a brotherhood that is pretty close-knit and tight,” said Sims.
While only time will help heal the community in the wake of this tragic crash, the memory of the father-son duo loved by so many will live on forever.
Pascagoula High School will continue to offer grief counseling to those students who need it. The funeral is scheduled for Friday.

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