Don Allen Keener


Don Allen Keener, 63, of Destin, Fla., formerly of Highlands, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019.

He was born Sept. 25, 1956 in Sylva to the late John H. and Hester Hedden Keener.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Keener; his three daughters, Brandy Highsmith and husband, Omar Highsmith, Kalee Renee Keener, Paige Marion Keener; and two grandsons, Knight and Simeon Highsmith, all of Destin, Fla. He was preceded in death by his father, John H. Keener, and his mother, Hester Hedden Keener; a brother Terry Dean Keener; and a sister Renee Gwen Treyvig.

His passion for life was contagious and he enjoyed spending his time with family and friends.  He loved dancing with Nancy, and watching his daughters compete in equestrian competition, he enjoyed riding motorcycles with his friends, and loved collecting classic Ford cars.

He was an accomplished man and received many awards for outstanding achievements during his life.

He graduated high school as valedictorian. Following his graduation in 1974, he had the prestigious accomplishment of being accepted into the Air Force Academy. He graduated with honors from the Air Force Academy and flew as a fighter/tank pilot from 1978 to 1982. During his service in the Air Force he achieved the rank of captain and received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Training Ribbon, Air Force Training Longevity Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

Following his military service, he moved to Destin, Fla. and started his career flying for the commercial airlines.  He flew for Northwest and Delta Airlines from August 1985 to December 2019, where he was flying international routes as a captain. In addition to his flying career, he was an accomplished custom builder in Destin.

The funeral was 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at Yellow Mountain Baptist Church with Carl Stepp officiating. Burial was in Stewart Cemetery.

The family received friends from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, one hour prior to the service at the church. Flowers may be sent to Macon Funeral Home, Franklin.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Stewart Cemetery Fund, C/O Carl Stewart, 3295 Yellow Mountain Road, Cullowhee, NC 28723.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences can be made to the family at


Lori Keller Stuber