Keith Alan Naylor, 58, of Stone Mountain, Georgia. died January, 12, 2016, at home with his family. He was born Sept. 2, 1957, in Columbus, Georgia to Homer Naylor and the late Sandra Naylor. Keith used his talent in basketball to carry his message around the world, He first was a standout basketball player at Eastern Wayne High School graduating in 1975, and was recruited to play basketball for Central Wesleyan College. While in college, he married the love of his life, Nancy Canfield Naylor, and recently celebrated their 38th anniversary. After graduating he was recruited by Athletes in Action (AIA) basketball based in British Columbia, Canada. Through AIA, Keith was able to spread his faith around the globe playing international university and professional teams. After AIA, he moved to Stone Mountain, GA to begin his youth ministry at Christ Community Church. From there he expanded his ministry by starting Nitelife, then later working with Young Life, and finally founding Zacchaeus Ministries, which included The Sycamore Tree Coffee House. Keith’s ministry centered on loving people the way they were and being non-judgmental of their circumstances or past. His empathy for the downtrodden was exemplified through his reaching out to the unwanted that were ignored by most ministries in downtown Atlanta, including the homeless, sexually abused, prostitutes and drug addicts. When a stranger hurt, Keith hurt and he consistently focused on people that carried the most pain, inviting many over the years to stay with his family. He loved everyone unconditionally, which opened numerous “non-reachable” people to faith. Keith was prolific in many areas of his ministry including being a sought after national speaker, author of several books, and an ordained minister. He led too many mission trips to count to Mexico to build houses and churches in underserved communities. He furthered his education and earned a Masters in Counseling for the purpose of “helping hurting people”. Keith always used humor to break down walls and skepticism, stating that his “teasing was his love language”. Keith was a gifted musician and singer as well, starting a group As I Am (Asiam) which performed in many venues, produced three successful CDs (songs on YouTube and Spotify) that were successful in spreading his message of acceptance and love. The greatest joy of his life was his wife, children and grandchildren that all called him “Boss”. He is survived by his wife Nancy Canfield Naylor, and 10 children: Jenna, Karis and husband Matt, Kace and husband Davie, Micah and wife Kate, Keighley and husband Adam, Cole, Tyler, Grahm, Cooper, Rylie and 13 grandchildren: Josiah, Delaney, Chaney, Bella, Eryn, Judah, Garrison, Walker, Ezra, Wren, Holden, Jolene, and Sawyer all of Stone Mountain Georgia, father Homer Naylor and his wife Ann Naylor, In-Laws J.O. and Josie Canfield of Greenwood SC., brother Dwayne Naylor and wife Donna of Raleigh NC, Niece Mackenzie and Nephew Zachary Naylor and many extended family. Services to celebrate Keith’s life will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, January, 17th, 2016, at Cornerstone Bible Church at 869 Cole Drive SW, Lilburn, Ga 30047. Officiating will be the Rev. Pete Stone. Any and all are welcome to attend. Please dress like Keith would, nothing fancy. Condolences can be made to the family at 831 Main Street, Stone Mountain, GA 30083. Online condolences may be sent to the Naylor family at, email at mailto:, or By request, a donation website has been established at

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  1. Nancy, Our love and prayers are with you as you face these difficult days. God’s grace and presence is a precious gift to you. Our memories of you and Keith are considered as some of our fondest at Central. Remember that we love you and you are in our prayers.

  2. I remember Keith from Stone Mountain High School. He had a passion to share our Lord with unchurched students. He would often say to
    Students ‘fall in love with Jesus ‘ and your life will fall into place. May. The peace of our Lord grant you His peace.

  3. Keith’s kindness and love of Christ will never be forgotten. He has left a legacy unable to be quantified as he produced children in the faith everywhere he went. Dare I say he is now he has many, many grandchildren and great grandchildren in the faith as a result of his steady work and love. My condolences to the family. I pray you are comforted by our Savior, Jesus Christ during this time. I know he is now receiving his reward for running such a fantastic race. May God bless you all.

  4. I am very sorry for your loss. I haven’t seen you guys in years but I remember both of you well. My prayers are with your family.

    Derek C Reavis

  5. Please accept my deepest sympathy for you loss but heaven is rejoicing as is Keith because he is at home with his Savior! He heard the words “Well Done!” Keith was always a gentle and kind person to me at Central. I am amazed, but not surprised to read all the wonderful things that he has done with his life! I hope one of you will pick up his mantle and carry on his legacy! My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Nancy Carroll Mills (former fellow classmate at Central Wesleyan College)

  6. I am so sorry to hear about Keith, yet thrilled to read about his life on here! I can hear God saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant, well done!” My prayer is that the service of the celebration of his life will be everything you would hope for it to be, and that it would reach many for Christ, as he would have liked it to. I was only at SWU for 2 years, but I remember Keith. My sympathies to his family as you adjust to your “new normal” without him.

  7. Keith was a friend and mentor to so many of us at Stone Mountain. He will never be forgotten. You’re all in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. I am deeply saddened to learn of Keith’s passing. We played ball together for CWC, and he was my best friend and brother on the team. There have been very few people in life who have made me laugh like Keith could. He was so relaxed, so laid back, but so open to everyone. Keith was everyone’s best friend. Although I haven’t talked to Keith in years, I will miss him. We’ve been out of school for many years, but part of Keith remains with me. Nancy, I hurt with you and your family. Please know that we love and care.

  9. So sorry for your loss. I first heard Keith speak when I was a college student in the mid-80’s and later had the privilege as a youth pastor to have him speak with my teenagers. His words and his lifestyle continue to influence me 30 years later.

  10. Nancy & family. Although it has been years since loosing contact, I am truly blessed to to have spent a beautiful part of life together in the early days of Zacchaeus. Writing music, playing music, & being challenged by his unconditional love and friendship. There are alway days of standing, falling, and getting back up, but his words to “be Jesus with skin” & “see the face of God” remain with me. We were born to struggle & yearn, to stumble & learn. He knew this and accepted us anyway, “Jesus with skin”. I still take his advise “to crawl up in the lap of my Father”. Early this morning, broken hearted, I crawled up again. I couldn’t help but feel there were already a thousand before me who have also seen a glimpse of the face of God through Keith. You & your family are loved. May my friend Keith’s loving example continue to help us see the face of God.

  11. Nancy and family, I was stunned when I heard this news. I was a classmate of Keith’s at CWC. He was a great guy! Had a lot of fun times in Child’s Hall. Please let you children and grandchildren know that Keith made an impact for Christ even in his early life. My prayers are with you.

  12. I have been privileged to know some very fine men of God in my lifetime. Keith Naylor was one of them.The list of his qualities is endless and his legacy will impact thousands for years to come. I am proud to be called his friend.

  13. You are in my thoughts and prayers. To God be the glory, great things did He do through Keith! His love for God and others lives on. Love each of you…..

  14. We thank God for Keith and for you, Nancy! You have been such a blessing to us, to our kids, to so many. You are in our prayers.

  15. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and family. We remember Keith fondly from Christ Community days and his energy and enthusiasm were such a joy to everyone.

  16. Nancy and family, I am sorry for your loss and that distance keeps me from the service today. You’re in my prayers as you grieve and adjust. May you be continually aware of God’s comforting presence in coming days and months.

  17. Keith was just simply a Great Man of God!! I was intrigued how he lived out the Word… He loved and did it unconditionally!! His Music ministry was profound..and gave such a insight to his huge heart!!

  18. Although many years and many miles separated us, Keith made a tremendous impact on my life and understanding of being a Christ-follower.

  19. Nancy,

    I’m not sure you remember us, Chris and Melanie Keeling (Helen and George Keeling) from Christ Community. We just recently learned of Keith’s passing. We are so sorry for your loss.

  20. I found out just today my old friend Keith Naylor has gone to be with The Lord. Keith, you made a huge impact on my life. I’ll always cherish the nights in stone mountian village with the old young life crew at the sycamore tree. I hiked many trails in the mountains of Goergia with you and you helped me to experience the love of a very real Jesus. Often your willingness to sacrifice for others baffled me. We had a conversation once about wayward youth and I can still hear you explaining that it had nothing to do with you but it was Jesus moving through you. Truely supernatural. I know where you are today, singing with all your heart for the King of Kings. Thank you for being one of the most willing servants of The Lord I have ever met. God truly blessed us all by loaning us His best.

  21. I am sorry to hear of Keith’s passing. His ministry for the kingdom sounds fabulous. I remember Keith through my association with the CWC basketball teams in 78 and 79. Those were good times–Craig Drennon, Bird, O, and Strobe–an association to be proud of. May God bless you.

  22. I am just learning of this tragic event. Kieth and I started CWC the same year. As a matter of fact we roomed on the same floor of Child’s Hall. He was one of the first persons I met. I made the statement..” I bet you are going to play basketball aren’t you?”
    He just smiled, and answered…” going to my best”
    That is what he always did… His best.
    I have a lot of great memories of the four years we shared at CWC
    Nancy, I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Mike Shillingburg

  23. I am very sorry to hear about Keith’s passing. I went to Stone Mountain in the late 80’s and was a member of Nitelife. I cannot express the impact Keith had on my life. He was one of the best men I have ever known. His example & love is something I have always carried with me. He had an infectious smile & way about him. I wish I could have told him how much he meant to me. The world needs more people like Keith. I am thankful that I knew him.

  24. Laurie and I just heard of Keith’s passing. We are so sorry to hear of this. We are grateful for the time we spent with Keith, Nancy and their children when we were at Christ Community Church from 1986 to 1989. God bless.

  25. Marshall and Laurie thank you for sharing your memories. We miss Keith but know he is in a far better place. Nancy

  26. Nancy,
    I just read about Keith’s passing in the SWU Magazine. I was at Central during the time you and Keith were there and remember his wonderful sense of humor and open, friendly spirit. There were numerous times that he and I found something to laugh about together. And what an outside jump shot he had from what is now “three-point territory”!
    It is wonderful to read about his devotion to Christ and his ministry for Him through the years. My prayers are with you and your family as you miss him now- and my hope is with you as we all await that wonderful reunion day in the presence of our Lord. God bless you!

    Carl Black

  27. Carl, thanks for your kind comments. He was a very special man who is dearly missed. Nancy

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