Keith Virgil was born on January 1st, 1959 on the small island of Tobago in the West Indies to Shirley and Newton Virgil. He was the oldest of three brothers. As a child Keith was energetic and studious. If you ask his cousins, he was also a bit mischievous. He’d play games hiding from his little cousins only to show up later after they searched for hours.
When his parents moved to New York to create a better life for their family, Keith and his younger brother Dave stayed in Tobago with family, being cared for by their late grandmothers Adina “M” Spears and Margaret “Mags” Virgil. Sports were a huge part of Keith's life as a child and he shone in any activity where a ball was involved. He picked up different sports quickly and became a master in table tennis and cricket, but he loved soccer most of all. During his days in Tobago, Keith could be seen kicking a soccer ball up and down the road and playing nearly every day with both kids and adults alike. He more than held his own against older competition, cementing the nickname “Ballho”. His friends said Keith could dribble the ball around anyone.
Keith took a liking to his mother’s twin brother Ronald and enjoyed learning about engineering, math, architecture, and construction from his uncle. Keith would devour as much information as possible, sometimes getting into trouble for taking Ronald’s architecture books without permission. His natural curiosity served him well in school. In family tradition, Keith excelled academically, graduating with honors from Bishop’s High School in Tobago.
Shortly afterwards Keith and Dave rejoined their parents in New York. Keith had a number of interests, which kept him very busy. He took these interests to college where he earned All-American honors in 1981 for soccer for the Nassau Community College Lions. Keith graduated from Nassau, and started his professional life working as an Civil Engineer for Amtrak. While there, Keith's entrepreneurial bug began to surface, which led him to start different businesses, including opening an auto repair shop where he applied skills that he learned from his father Newton. Over the years, Keith ran his shop serving many customers across different towns throughout Nassau County.
Keith’s other true love was music. Whether it was playing in his band Hi-Tek, with his brother Dave, or creating new music as a solo artist, Keith had music pouring out of his soul. Early in his career Keith performed in countless local venues. He could be seen singing along in the living room to tunes from a bevy of reggae artists or playing the keyboard or guitar, trying to write new songs. While Keith continued to release new music under the moniker Anthony Prophet, he also started to work with new budding artists to help them realize their dreams.
Keith was a good friend to many, always willing to reach out and to be their sounding board. Much like his Tanty Janet and Tanty Brownie, he encouraged others to take care of one another and keep close bonds, especially with family. Keith showed his compassion for people through his brotherly advice, whether encouraging others to give back or sharing the importance of standing by the side of family especially when they are ill. He was also a committed family man. Over the years, he worked tirelessly to take care of his parents in their older years while always doting over his little girl, Xiomara.
In December of 2018, Keith experienced a brain aneurysm and was unexpectedly called home, joining his parents who left us during the past two years, and his grandparents.
Keith leaves many loved ones to celebrate his time on this earth, including his partner: Sharnette and their daughter Xiomara; brothers: Dave (Phylis) and Clayton (Julayne); adopted sister: Liz (Rex); nieces:
Paige, Tyler, and Krystal (Dave); Vivienne and Zahra (Clayton); nephews: Glenn, Jaelen, Deveron, Kimani,
and Andrew (Liz); aunts: Janice George, Janet Spears, Olive Spears, Elizabeth Richardson (Eugene),
Bridget Spears, and Jennifer Marcellin (Lloyd); uncles: Oliver Spears (Patsy), Eustace, Hilton, and Lashley
Virgil; and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents Newton and Shirley Virgil; aunt Rosalind “Rose” Alleyne, uncles
Ronald “Rony”, Leopold Spears, and Ezekiel Virgil; and cousin Julie Spears.
While he is longer here on this earth, Keith was a giving spirit who reached out and touch the lives of
many people through his words and music. His energy will forever be present.
In Lieu of Flowers donations can be made to the Keith Virgil Memorial Fund.