Lee Edward Keenan was born April 21, 1921 to Rew T. Keenan and Gladys (Elliott) Keenan. He passed away March 27, 1995 at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines at the age of 73 years, eleven months.
On December 28, 1953, he was united in marriage to Sheryl Henderson of Waukee, Iowa. To this union three children were born, Lynn Baker of Creston, Cheri May of Maloy, and LeAnn Francis of Creston.
Funeral services were held March 31 at the Clearfield Christian Church with Rev. Eydie Stephens officiating. Brenda Ryan and Ron Brown were participants. Music was provided by Jean Huffman, Becky Nelson and Mary Ellen Spurrier.
Casket bearers included Ron Mobley, Greg Mobley, Brian Mobley, Ken Siverly, Marshall Henderson, Sheldon Henderson, Corey Henderson and Jerry Mitchell.
Interment was in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Blockton, Iowa, with Military Graveside Rites by Blockton Post #443, American Legion. He was also a member of VFW of Bedford, Post #11443.
Lee lived in or near Maloy, Iowa all his life, except when he was in the army during World War II. During his duty, he served in the Pacific area.
Lee enjoyed being a farmer and after returning from the war, resided in Maloy where he enjoyed raising large gardens to share with family and friends.
Survivors include his wife, Sheryl; three daughters, Lynn, Cheri and LeAnn; three granddaughters, Melissa and Meredith Baker of Creston and Samantha Hornback of Maloy; two sons-in-law, Paul Baker and George Francis; three sisters, Dorothy (Beryl) Hall, Jean (Karl) Wurster of Mountain Home, AR.; and Virginia (Fred) Siverly of Clearfield; two brothers, Bob (Betty) of Omaha, NE. and Marion (Donna) of Mountain Home, AR.; several nieces and nephews, cousins and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Rew and Gladys Keenan.
The following eulogy was written by Lee’s daughter, LeAnn.
Obituaries serve a function, but they are merely flat, cold presentations of facts. Dad’s obituary states when he was born, that he was a farmer who served in World War II, that he was married and had three children. But, it doesn’t provide the specifics that celebrate who he was and how he lived.
An obituary won’t say that he took his own team of horses, Bird and Roany, to the fields when he was nine, or that he loved to ride old Snowball, the pony.
It won’t tell you that he drove an ambulance during World War II in the Philippines and New Guinea and used to like to ride in the bow of the ship whenever he was transferred. It won’t tell you how homesick he was when he was overseas, or how, when he was finally discharged he showed up at Uncle Guy’s house in Blockton and Aunt Mony (Mauny) made him breakfast.
Neither will it say that he stood Mom up on their first date..but, thankfully, not their second.
It won’t say that he was a great cook, as long as it was hamburgers and baked potatoes cooked in tin foil..with occasional onions.
Or that he probably broke a toe or two on a stubborn old sow, but always knew which Angus calf belonged to which Angus cow.
Or that we always knew he was close if there was a fresh banana peel sprawled in the driveway.
It won’t say that he was a regular fan at Melissa and Meredith’s ballgames or once went to four dance recitals in two days. Or that he pretended to be shocked when Samantha, fresh from the bathtub, zoomed around his chair.
It won’t describe his bright blue eyes or thick, sturdy hands, calloused by years of hard work or the deep farmer’s tan that went clear to his soul.
It won’t tell you that he was a good, kind, generous man who would help anyone who needed it. Or how much he loved his family and how much they loved him.
Wednesday, glancing through some old pictures, I found a letter he’d written me, answering the question I, when in my family history mode, had posed about aspects of his life. In his words; “Farming is a good life and a good place to raise your kids, but here isn’t too much money in it.”
“Large families are good. I enjoyed living at home, but I had a good mother and father. We had lots of fights, but they were all worthwhile.”
“I wouldn’t have wanted to live without my wife. Life would be pretty dull without my wife. I would say I do again. I guess we have had a good life.”
“The highlights of my marriage were when my kids were born. I had wonderful kids, you. Kids are more valuable than all the money you can have.”
My Dad never thought he was a rich man, but by looking around at all the family, friends and neighbors who’ve come to tell him good-bye, I can tell you that he was as rich as anyone can be, and that we are rich because we were lucky enough to know him.
We’ll miss you, Dad. But the next time a voice in my head says, “You know you can drive on the top half of the gas tank just as easy as the bottom,” I’ll know you’re still looking after us.