Johnny Eugene Keane, 61 years, seven months, died Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003, at his home in McCook, from advanced stages of primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
He was born June 17, 1941, in Alliance, to John Robert and Gatha Beatrice (Hack) Keane. He was raised on the family farm northeast of Marsland in Dawes County. He attended school through the sixth grade at District No. 61 and from seventh through twelfth grades in Hemingford, where he and his sister Martha stayed with their grandmother, Mary Hack, during the week.
On Aug. 16, 1959, he married Marlene J. Britton at Fort Collins, Colo. To this union four children were born.
On Dec. 8, 1991, he was married to Susan Tyler in Alliance.
On Oct. 4, 1996, he married Frieda Ritter.
John worked as a hired hand for neighbors; as a sheep butcherer for Swift and Co., for 11 years, as a Rainbow Bread Salesman for 17 years; and as a chemical formulator for Cornbelt Chemical Co./Van Diest Supply Co. from 1994 until he was diagnosed at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in May of 1999 with primary progressive multiple sclerosis and was declared totally disabled.
John worked hard on the family farm during his youth and as a young man. He enjoyed traveling to the farm at Marsland to plant wheat, oversee harvesting, and enjoy some vacation time from his job.
He loved his grandchildren and often would fly kites with them, play catch football, and cheer them on at little league games until he got so ill that traveling was not possible for him any longer. He helped rebuild used bicycles to be given to children who would not otherwise have one of their own.
Anyone who knew John realized how severely this disease affected him. He loved to work and always be busy; it was hard to see how his life had totally turned around so quickly. John touched our lives in many ways. He taught us how the little things in life are the most important; the things easily taken for granted are no longer. John was a blessing to all he touched. May his soul rest in peace.
He was preceded in death by his parents and son, John Duane. He is survived by his wife, Frieda of McCook; his sons, David and wife, Jennifer, Salt Lake City, Utah; Karry, of Scottsbluff; a daughter, Diane Ernst of Idaho Falls, Idaho; three step-sons, Dennis Ritter, Craig Ritter, and Phillip Ritter and wife, Sharla, all of Jennings; three step-daughters, Donna Mangold of Victoria, Kan., Victoria Bainter and husband, David, and Teresa Hartzog all of Norton, Kan.; one sister, Martha Colburn and husband, Wayne of Brush, Colo.; six grandchildren, Emily and Ethan Ernst, Jessica Keane, Dean, Kayla and Makenzie Keane, and seven step-grandchildren Alexis Mangold, Seth and Josh Ritter, Zachary, Troy, Abby and Darcy Bainter; nephews, Bob and Bill Colburn and niece Kathy (Colburn) Hurley and many other relatives and friends.
Memorials may be given in his name.
Rosary will be Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003, 7 p.m. at Carpenter Breland Chapel.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, Jan. 27, 2003, 10 a.m., at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in McCook. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in McCook.
Carpenter Breland Funeral Home of McCook is in charge of arrangements.