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Home: Surnames: Keenan Family Genealogy Forum

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Wilbur Eaton "Dick" Keenan, 1908-1944
Posted by: F. Keenan (ID *****4329) Date: July 11, 2012 at 07:06:13
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Born in the farmhouse of his parents south of Alexandria, Morgan County, Illinois, he later operated Sinclair Oil Station at Madison Square in Danville,Illinois. Next, he bought the Park Grocery Store in Bloomington, Illinois. He returned to Danville and became a guard at the munitions plant in Newport, Vermillion County, Indiana. He suffered from migraine headaches and had exploratory surgery at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis in 1943; his brother, Reid Keenan, M.D., was in attendance. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He lay in bed at home and suffered for the remainder of his short life, dying in July of 1944. His favorite hobbies were fishing and golf. He also hunted and trapped with his good friend Francis "Red" Young, of Bismark, Illinois. His first born child, Francis, was named in honor of his friend, "Red" Young. "Dick" was a 32nd degree Mason. For a time, he performed as a magician and ventriloquist in the eastern Illinois region. It had been his ambition to become a successful businessman.

When Rev. Keenan was about to make a very strong point with his son, Wilbur, he would firmly say ..... 'Richard!' The nickname for the given name of Richard is "Dick." This emphasis in Rev. Keenan's speaking habits was the reason Wilbur Eaton Keenan was called "Dick." Why Rev. Keenan chose to refer to his son as 'Richard' in such moments is unknown, but this practice was responsible for his son receiving the nickname. (Source: Virginia Keenan Evans)

He attended high school in Bloomington, Illinois. However, he did not graduate from high school until he attended night classes at the high school in Danville, Illinois, as an adult. He had been a star football and basketball player at Bloomington Township High School.

His wife, Mary Marcella, who was engaged at the time "Dick" asked her to marry him, said yes, for she had tired of waiting for her fiance, "Bill" Ryan to marry her. "Dick," she said, was restless and persuasive. They had dated after she met him at a Keenan family reunion in Kentucky in 1929. Dick, at that time, was living with his parents in Danville, Illinois, and working as a gasoline and oil salesman at his station on Madison Square in Danville. Their children were: Francis Wilson Keenan, Mary Francella Keenan, and Emma Jean Keenan. "Dick" Keenan was buried in the Sunset Memorial Cemetery north of Danville in Vermilion County, Illinois.

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