John Smiley Key

August 4, 1940February 6, 2013

John Smiley Key died February 6, 2013. He was born in Camden, Tenn., on August 4, 1940 to Jacklyn Smiley and Gilbert Jasper Key. He resided in Decatur from second grade where he attended Somerville Road School and later Decatur High School.

John attended the University of Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama Law School, where he was Editor in Chief of the Alabama Law Review. After getting his law degree, John clerked for United States District Judge Clarence Allgood in Birmingham, and came home to Decatur in 1964, where he joined the firm of Eyster and Eyster.

John had been past president of the Morgan County Bar Association, a former member of the Alabama Bar Commissioners and member and former director of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association. He was an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the International College of Trial Lawyers.

John Key was a lifelong member of St. John's Episcopal Church, where he served as vestryman and senior warden.

He was a past president of Decatur Rotary Club, past board member of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Advisory Board of Directors at AmSouth Bank. John served as a member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Decatur General Hospital.

Mr. Key was preceded in death by his parents, Jacklyn Smiley and Gilbert Jasper Key.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Lucy Minot Key; one son, John Key Jr. of Birmingham; one daughter, Mary Scott Key Pizzitola and husband, Joey, grandson, John Pizzitola, granddaughter, Anna Pizzitola, all of Birmingham; brother, Gilbert Jasper Key Jr. (wife Ann) of Birmingham; sister, Jacklyn Key Bailey (husband Foster); and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at St. John's Church on Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 2 p.m .with burial in St. John's Columbarium. Visitation to follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. John's Church or your favorite charity


  • Memorial Service Sunday, February 10, 2013

John Smiley Key

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February 17, 2013

Dear Lucy and Family,
It is hard to find the right words.John was special.Please accept our heartfelt sympathy.

Phyllis and Bob Rose
Fleming Island, FL.

February 14, 2013

at the visitation if I had been there. God bless you all...Love you,

Wanda Howell

Clyde Whitley

February 14, 2013


Sorry to hear about your dad.
I fondly remember your parents down on the river.
Bless you and your family.

Sallye Coggin

February 12, 2013

Dear Lucy and family, I am saddened by John's death. He was my friend, and a respected peer of my father and brother. Sincerely, Sallye Powell Coggin

February 12, 2013

Woolsey and I were so sorry to read Diane's e-mail telling of John's death when we returned from Orlando today. I first met John the fall of 1958 when we both worked in the ticket office at the University and he was such a fun guy! Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Love,
Linda & Woolsey

Katie Milam

February 12, 2013

So sorry for you all in this time of sorrow. I know you - and Decatur - have lost a kind and loving man and will all miss him dearly. You're all in my thoughts and prayers. Katie Milam

Larry Sparks

February 11, 2013

To the family,

While it has been years since I talked with John, I just want you to know that from the time I first met him playing touch football with Squee and others in his mother's yard, I have held him in the highest regard. My goal was to be like him, and while I followed him in the practice of law and as a Rotarian in my local Club in Hoover, I could never fill his shoes in any area. I cherish those memories of long ago, and I share your sadness in his passing. I thank God for John's life and wonderful example of class in every area of life. God bless.

February 11, 2013

Mary Scott so sorry to hear about your Dad . I know you two were so close. Prayers and love to you and your family during this difficult time.
Patty and Roger Lucas

Diane & Henry Chappell

February 11, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Lucy, and all the family during this difficult time. We have so many fond memories of John and you and treasure our years of friendship.
In Christ's love and ours,
Diane and Henry Chappell

Emily Horton Morrow

February 10, 2013

Much love to all of the Key family ...he was a great and wonderful man, and so loved. Thinking of all of you.