Joseph 'Keith' Yarbrough, 63, of Hamden, CT died suddenly on March 5, 2020. Born November 8, 1956, in Wilmington, NC, he was the son of Joseph and the late Charlotte (DeBusk) Yarbrough of Bristol, TN. He is survived by his beloved wife of 25 years, Sharen McKay, his father, a sister, Karen Truluck, of Longs, SC, a niece Jessica Knight, her husband Trevor, and their son Elisha, of Gray, TN, and a nephew, Tyler Yarbrough, of Johnson City, TN. He is pre-deceased by a brother, Ken, a sister-in-law, Sherry (McKinney), of Johnson City, TN, and a brother-in-law, Don Truluck, of Longs, SC. A 1980 graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC, he majored in Music Performance and played the tuba. He was principal tuba player for the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra and the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and a founding member of the Matrix Brass Quintet. Later in his life he turned to rock and roll and played the tuba as a bass instrument with several local bands in New Haven, CT, including Experimental Gene, Gene Gnomes, and the Lyric Hall Theater Orchestra. Music was the source of many friendships throughout his life. His interest in mathematics led to advanced degrees from Wake Forest University and Brown University. Keith was also an avid cruciverbalist who worked as a professional crossword puzzle editor and participated in crossword competitions. He lived a life rich in music, numbers, words, and friends, by whom he will be deeply missed. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the School of Music at University of North Carolina School of the Arts at 1533 South Main St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101-2738. Arrangements in care of Beecher & Bennett Funeral Home, 2300 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT.

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  1. Another friend gone too soon. I will miss Keith greatly. My deepest sympathy for Sharon and family.

  2. My condolences, Sharen. I loved playing music with Keith and he was certainly the only person I knew who kept the Principia lying around for when he felt like doing a little light reading. Keith and I spent too brief a time together, but he was one of the most remarkable people I have been fortunate enough to have known. Rest in peace, Brother.

  3. I am retired from the Math Dept at Wake Forest University. I taught Keith when he was a grad student at Wake Forest and respected and liked him very much. I also heard him play often with the WS Symphony Orchestra. He was as talented in math as he was in music. I am very sad about his death.

  4. I am so sorry and saddened by Kieth’s passing. We played together at a music festival. Such a fine player and genuine person.

  5. I have such fond memories of Keith being the calm, kind and always smiling musician. Wishing you peace to bring comfort, the courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.

  6. I send my deepest sympathies to Sharen. Keith was a wonderful person. As a fellow musician, I always enjoyed his company, performing with him, watching him perform, working on music with him, and having good conversations. Like so many others, Keith touched my life, and I will miss him.

  7. Keith was a special person and tubist. We played together at the Summer Music Festival in Arkansas. Please accept my sincere condolences. He was a great player and a great person. Bob Kehle

  8. My deepest condolences and prayers for you, Sharen, and the Yarbrough family. Keith was an amazing musician who shared his generous spirit with me when we had the opportunity to meet and play music together, as part of the Lyric Hall Theater Orchestra and the Lyric Hall Big Band. His brilliant, accessible arrangements, and good sense of humor made him a pleasure to be around. I know I am better for having known Keith…

  9. This is a truly sad day for me. Keith and I have been in touch only occasionally for the past 15 or so years, but at a time he was one of my best friends. We played together at the Music Festival of Arkansas for many years, sharing untold numbers of concerts, laughs, parties, deep talks and pranks. But we were kindred spirits otherwise, sharing a love of central North Carolina, whether it be gabbing about playing in one of the many orchestras in that area, dissecting Tar Heel Basketball, or shooting the bull over a plate of Carolina style bbq and a pitcher of sweet tea at Hill’s in Winston-Salem. My sincerest condolences to family and friends. I will miss you my brother.

  10. Keith and I were coworkers at Penny Publications, as well as neighbors at the Traymore apartment complex in New Haven. After I moved to Milford and he left Penny (only to come back several years later) I’d bump into him at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, where he competed every year. Me and a coworker ran a giveaway table and Keith always made it a point of stopping by. I had always heard he played the tuba but I only knew the puzzly side of Keith and his gift for word play. He will be missed at Penny!

  11. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I met Keith once and he struck me as a very kind and friendly person.

  12. Sharen my deepest sympathies, and prayers to you and your entire family. My heart goes out to you at this time of grief.

  13. My deepest condolences to Sharen and the rest of Keith’s family. I am so very sorry for your loss. Still finding it hard to believe, myself. I have known Keith for many years as a colleague and friend at Penny Publications. We were both Editors together back in the day. I have many fond memories of working together and playing pool on Friday nights at Crown St. Billiards… usually followed by a late night burger from Louie’s Lunch…. Keith’s math skills and programming ability led him to develop programs to improve the working environment for his colleagues. That wasn’t even his responsibility, he just wanted to make things better-. and he did. He will be missed very much. Dave DeLeo

  14. Sharon, So sorry to hear about Keith’s death. I am so thankful that I got to see him at Ken’s memorial. I am thinking of you and your family. Please know that I love you and Keith very much. Take care of yourself. Love, Barbara DeBusk

  15. Sharon – I knew Keith as a talented musician and always helpful and patient with me for the short period we played together in the Optics. Sending my deepest sympathy.

  16. I was sad to learn of Keith’s passing when I looked at the class notes in the most recent Carolina alumni magazine. Keith and I were both freshmen in Grimes dormitory (UNC-CH) during the 1974-75 school year. He and I became part of a fairly small group of close friends in the dorm. I remember Keith as the most fun member of that group, very witty and funny, full of miscellaneous knowledge, and simply one of the nicest and most pleasant people to be around. When he wasn’t back in Grimes sophomore year we all felt the loss. All these years later I’m still reminded of him whenever I encounter some obscure bit of information and recall that it was something I first learned from Keith all those years ago. I also remember him urging me to take up crossword puzzles, and when I finally did so many years later I thought of Keith then, too. My deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones and to all who had the pleasure of having Keith in their lives over the many years that have passed since I had the brief privilege of being his good friend.

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