First Posted: 12/27/2008

WINSTON-SALEM Walter Irving Key, 89, of Winston-Salem, passed away on Dec. 25, 2008, at the Phillips Health Care Center at Salemtowne after a courageous battle with cancer. Irving was born Oct. 4, 1919, to Cora Flinchum and Robert William Key in Mount Airy. After graduating from Mount Airy High School in 1936, he attended Wake Forest University and soon after began a life-long accounting career. In 1943, Irving enlisted in the United States Navy and served in the South Pacific. During his early adult years, he worked for Twin County Motor Company in Galax, Va., where he was the business manager. He moved to Winston-Salem in 1958 and ultimately retired at the age of 75 from a career with Morgan Stanley. During his business career, he was an active member of the Jaycees and Kiwanis Club. He voluntarily provided tax services pro bono for residents in nursing homes. A proud and faithful member of Knollwood Baptist Church, Irving considered the church his second home and family. Over the years, Irving served on numerous committees of the church including budget/finance, secretary of the Sunday schools, and the Board of Deacons. He will be lovingly remembered by his family and friends as a kind, gentle man with a wonderful dry wit. He was fond of Wake Forest sports, treasured his time with his grandsons watching the Dallas Cowboys, and was a avid and knowledgeable country music fan. Irving is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mary Dorothy Reeves Key; two adoring daughters, Charlotte Key Halverson and husband, Rich, and Amy Key Ogburn, all of Winston-Salem; grandchildren, William Horton Chip Petree III of Nashville, Tenn., Stacy Petree Davis [Steven] of Winston-Salem and Hudson Reeves Ogburn of Winston-Salem; and great-grandchildren, Wesley Hurst Davis, William Jackson Davis and Anna Winston Davis of Winston-Salem, and Henry Ashworth Petree of Nashville. He is also survived by his sister, Rachel Key Lowry [Jack], and his brother, James E. Key [Versie], all of Winston-Salem, as well as several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m. at Knollwood Baptist Church with Dr. Christopher C.F. Chapman and Dr. Jack R. Noffsinger officiating. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall of the church immediately following the service. Interment will take place at 3:30 p.m. at Skyline Memory Garden in Mount Airy, with full military honors conducted by VFW Memorial Honor Guard Post 2019 of Mount Airy and Post 9436 of Pilot Mountain. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Knollwood Baptist Church Ministry of Music Fund. Moody Funeral Services of Mount Airy will be assisting the family. The family gives special thanks and appreciation to the staff at Phillips Health Care at Salemtowne, especially Noah Barr and Shannon Wooten, for their care and compassion during Irvings final days and to the ministers and members of Knollwood Baptist Church for their loving support. Online condolences may be made at

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