John “Jack” Francis Keena, Jr, 93
Loving Father and Grandfather
Westminster - John (Jack) Francis Keena, Jr, 93, died suddenly in his home on January 12, 2021. It is with great sorrow that our family announces the passing of our father. He now joins his beloved bride of 59 years, Joan and many family and friends who have gone before him.
Jack leaves his son Kevin J. Keena and his wife Jeanne of Westminster and his daughter MaryBeth K. Dawley and her husband Eric of Hubbardston. Also known as Papa, Jack leaves his grandson Justin J. Keena and his wife Merry of Golden, CO; two granddaughters, Kelly J. Keena of Salt Lake City, UT, JuliAnna S. Dawley and the expected arrival of his newest Dawley grandson both of Hubbardston. As a Great-Papa he leaves two great-grandchildren, Madeline J. Keena and Cashel J. Keena, both of Golden, CO. Jack also leaves many nieces and nephews in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and a cousin in Delaware, all of whom he loved dearly and who will miss him deeply.
He was pre-deceased by his brother, James V. Keena and sister, Margaret “Peggy” Vanore.
Jack was born January 10th, 1928, on his family’s kitchen table in the Bronx, much like is passing - without notice, in the comfort of his home.
The family later moved to Queens, NY and eventually settled in Palisades Park, NJ. Jack found many adventures with friends in the surrounding areas. From playing marbles in the dirt, climbing trees, building their own rough basketball court and swimming in the Overpeck Creek, to burning cattails and “clubbing” the rats in the “Jersey Meadows”, less glamorously known as the local dump. It was this later game which led to his infamous small-explosives work and near death event in 1948, requiring the heroic work of 5 surgeons to save his life. He would call these surgeons every year around the anniversary to thank them. Jack liked to see that others were recognized for their hard work, especially if it might otherwise go unsung.
Jack served 2 years with the National Guard before meeting and marrying his sweetheart Joan in 1955 in Leonia, NJ. They welcomed their son Kevin in 1956 and after seeing him through college, they started ALL OVER with their daughter MaryBeth in 1978. Jack was 50 at the time!
Jack began his professional life working for Alford Cartons and Continental Paper Company in Englewood, NJ. He also took courses at Stevens Institute of Technology and Rutgers University in New Jersey. In 1958, Jack kicked off his 38-year career with Simonds Saw and Steel, Inc. in Fitchburg, MA, later moving his family to Westminster, in 1966. As a longtime resident of Westminster, Jack made many contributions to the town, including serving on the Oakmont Regional School Committee from 1970-1976, being a long-time member of the Rotary Club and even providing the town with its first transport-capable ambulance in 2003 through a donation he organized.
Known as K1JFK to his ham radio group, Jack volunteered for many years at the Boston Marathon as a ham radio operator. Jack was also a member of the local bowling team known as the “Mighty Midgets”. As a member of the Leonia (New Jersey) High School Class of 1946, Jack attended their high school reunions every 5 years without fail, last traveling to Bonita Springs, FL in 2017 to celebrate their 71st! Jack never missed an opportunity to reach out to treasured friends and relatives, no matter the time or distance passed.
Jack and his family have enjoyed many years of summer fun in their Bakers Grove summer home on Wyman’s Lake in Westminster, surrounded by yet another community of friends and family. As an active member of St. Edward’s Catholic Church since 1966, Jack has served many roles in his faith community as well.
Jack’s other hobbies included hunting for many years with his son, brother-in-law, and cousin in the New York Catskills, as well as locally with other hunting friends. He and his wife Joan enjoyed many years of travel throughout the US and abroad, including summer trips to Cape Cod, going on whale watches, and more than 10 trips to their favorite getaway, Bermuda.
Even throughout his early 90’s, it was not unusual for Jack to drive all the way to Connecticut for meats or a particular loaf of bread from his favorite Rein’s Deli or to return from New Jersey trips with bagels from his favorite bakery. Jack never met a stranger that didn’t end up a friend. He believed strongly in making and nurturing connections with good people, he saw the value in traditions of all kinds, and in standing up for others in need. Our dad was always a “character”, wise, kind and very generous with all he had. He was always ready with a clever joke, a catchy phrase or a fun-loving quip, anything to share a smile with someone. He has touched many lives and in doing so, and his legacy will live on in the joy and memories he shared with others and will shine most brightly in the hearts and smiles of the family and friends he leaves behind.
Due to COVID limitations there will be no calling hours.
Immediate family will gather for blessings and burial this Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jack’s name to St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church 10 Church Street, Westminster, MA 01473.
Pending less restrictive gathering regulations, Jack’s family looks forward to celebrating his life alongside all his beloved family and friends, with a full mass and celebration of Jack’s life to be held at a later date and time TBA.
The Westminster Chapel of the Sawyer-Miller-Masciarelli Funeral Homes, 123 Main Street, Westminster, MA, has been entrusted by Jack’s family to assist with his funeral.
Please visit our website to leave a condolence and for further information (www.masciarellifamilyfuneralhomes.net)
John F. Masciarelli, James M. Hebert, Walter C. Taylor and Olivia L. Willett funeral directors.
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