Walter Ralph Keenan was born at the corner of Highland and Madison avenues in Albany in February 1922. A memorable early experience was working as a 16 year-old baggage boy on a convoy of busses to take Georgia girls for a 2 month tour of the West Coast and Canada. He started at Albany High School but graduated from the Baylor School in Chattanooga in 1940 and attended Georgia Tech before going into the Navy as a pilot where he flew PBY patrol planes off the West Coast. As a cadet he brought a Wright 19 trainer plane back with a flaming engine problem that had killed 122 cadets and 63 instructors (Army AF had lost more) so that the problem was able to be identified and corrected (broadcast radio would short out the starter and cause overheating). In November 1944 he married Mary Chazal of Ocala, Florida after deciding to marry her before he even had a date with her. They were married for 71 years. After the war his jobs included farming, Keenan Auto Parts and starting businesses such as Keenan Welding Supplies (now Airgas on Gillionville Road) and Keenan Transfer & Storage. He was active in the Albany Chamber of Commerce and served as president. He is uniquely remembered by his children for having taken all five children and mother on four seven-week trips - three across the US and Canada in a station wagon and one through the Bahamas by boat. He is preceded in death by parents Mattie Wilkerson Keenan and Paul A. Keenan, brother Paul A. Keenan, Jr., his "wonderful wife" Mary Chazal Keenan, and son-in-law Tom Richardson. He is survived by children Jake "Pat" Keenan, Anne "Analee" Keenan of Somerville, Massachusetts, Mike (Sue) Keenan of Albany, Mary Meurisse Richardson of Herndon, Virginia, and Mark (Meg) Keenan of San Carlos, California and by grandchildren Jesse (Kristen) Keenan of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Nathan (Lindsey) Keenan of Arcata, California, Andrew RIchardson of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Julie Richardson of Herndon, Virginia, Dominick Keenan of San Carlos, California, and step grandchild Eric Griswold (Natalie) of Alpharetta, Georgia and by great grandchildren Alder Keenan and just-born boy of Arcata, California and step great grandchild Kathleen Griswold of Alpharetta. He is a member of St. Teresa's church. There will be no services at this time. In lieu of flowers please make donations to St. Teresa's Catholic Church or St. Teresa's Catholic School, 421 Edgewood Dr. Albany, GA 31707. You may sign our online guestbook and share your own special thoughts with the family of Mr. Keenan by visiting Kimbrell-Stern's website at www.kimbrellstern.com.
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