Ronald Keenan

Ronald Joseph Keenan was born Dec. 9, 1933 in Fonda and passed away June 14, 2019 in Des Moines.

Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, June 20, at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Storm Lake. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Storm Lake. Visitation will take place on Wednesday, June 19, from 5-8 p.m. with a vigil service at 7 p.m. and KC Rosary at 7:30 p.m. all at Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake. A memorial fund for a hearing-impaired system at St. Mary’s will be established. 

Ron grew up on a farm northwest of Fonda. His younger years were full of hard work and adventures. He loved to tell stories about life on the farm, skating on the dredge with his sister, great neighbors, grading the road in front of their farm and the best dog any boy could have had, “Blackie.” When he was in high school, his family moved into Storm Lake and Ron graduated from Storm Lake St. Mary’s in 1952.

His career as a plumbing and heating specialist  started as a teenager when he was exposed to summer jobs at the canning factory, local machine shop, Clough Auto Parts and the construction of a wooden elevator at the corner of Lake Avenue and East Milwaukee. Ron even spent three years in the Army National Guard as a mechanic. He learned from those jobs that he wanted to work with his hands but not do the same thing everyday. His Keenan Plumbing and Heating business was out of the back of his parents home décor store on Erie Street for many years. This passion for making people’s lives better was turned into a successful business that was shared with his son Mike and continues on today. Together they took care of more customers than you can count and those customers love the relationships they built. It was more than fixing a leaky faucet or installing a new air conditioner, it was about always fixing what could be repaired, taking care of them and treating them right.

In the late 1970s he bought a vacant lot between Flindt Drive and Dorinda Street where over the course of two years he built his home on top of a shop that allowed him to create “the shortest commute in town.” He was very proud of the home he created and Coleen was excited to get a new place with views of the lake. They lived together there for the balance of their 55 years together. He was loved by his neighbors and was fortunate to live there until he passed away.

Ron had a deep love for family and he started his own on June 25, 1955 by marrying the love of his life, Coleen Gard from Early. They met at the Cobblestone Ballroom where Coleen was sporting a black eye. That didn’t stop Ron from falling head over heels for this beautiful young woman. Together they raised five children, and their lives were filled with hard work and adventure. Even when the kids were young, family vacations were important. They continued their love of travel after becoming empty nesters, by taking a cruise and visiting East, West and Gulf coasts. Ron took his last solo road trip to the West Coast a couple of years ago. Extended family was important to them and they loved getting together with both Ron and Coleen’s families. Cards at the farm in Early or Sunday morning brunch at Grandma Keenan’s were always a hit. Ron’s sister Joyce even ended up marrying Coleen’s brother Ed to create a special set of cousins that were at every family get together.

Those left to cherish Ron’s memory include his children: Mike and Edna Keenan, Tim and Gloria Keenan, Michelle and Rob Smith, Nancy Christensen, John and Karen Keenan; grandchildren: Sherry and Blake Titterington, Shallee Keenan and Tom Davis, Kelly and John Peters, Joel and Kellie Keenan, Alyssa Keenan and Mike Oh, Holly Keenan, Malcolm Smith, Jake Smith, Keenan Porter, Cole Keenan, Vivian Keenan, Owen Keenan; great-grandchildren: Brody Titterington, Zachary Titterington, Heidi Peters, Kurtis Peters, Jordan, Clyde, Jude, Maddie, Sophia, Trenton, Alayla and Liam.

Ron was preceded in death by his wife, Coleen Keenan; parents, Chris and Ethel Keenan; sisters, Dorothy Smith Berg and Joyce Gard; parents-in-law, Ed and Vivian Gard; sister-in-law, Karen Zettl; and brothers-in-law, Ed Gard and Don Gard. 

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