James Howard Keener, 85, of West Hartford, beloved husband of Martha O’Reilly Keener, died on Monday, May 7, 2018. Born in Red Oak, Iowa, he was the son of the late Lucille (Bruce) and Jesse Howard Keener. Jim grew up in Redlands, California and lived in Southern California before moving to Connecticut in 1968.
Jim was an alumnus of the San Jose State University where he received a Master of Arts in Education. He received an honorable discharge as Corporal from the U.S. Army having served during the Korean Conflict in Mannheim, Germany.
He came to West Hartford to shepherd an instructional television program sponsored by the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC). With Jim’s nurturing, the production studio grew and was taken up by the University of Hartford where it became an integral part of the College of Arts and Science academic curriculum.
His students in Television Production were a constant source of pride. For thirty years he taught and nurtured eager students. He enjoyed watching them grow into competent directors and effective production team members. During his tenure as Director of the TV studio the facility grew from a one-room classroom space into a state-of the-art TV facility.
He had an enduring love of photography, creative writing and lawn bowling. He was a dedicated reader who devoured books on topics from Westerns to Science fiction. He was a gentle man who took time to help, mentor, cajole and care for people.
Jim served as a volunteer for many years at the House of Bread, and Ambassador Services at UCONN Medical Center, Farmington, CT
Besides his wife, he leaves his cherished children: Terrah Keener and her partner Pattie LaCroix and their sons, Ellis and Damen; his son, Jeffery and his wife, Janet Loynes Keener and their daughter, Erin. His sister, Evelyn Whaley predeceased him as did his first wife, S. Patricia, the mother of his children. Jim was dearly loved by his brother-in-law, Edward O’Reilly and his wife Diane, of Unionville; sister-in-law, Mary Reynolds and her husband Frank, of Rome, NY; sisters-in-law, Anne Andrews of West Hartford, Brenda Milkofsky of Ivoryton, CT. He leaves a host of nephews, nieces, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and friends who called him, “Dad.”
Jim coped bravely with Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.
The family will receive friends Friday, May 11th with calling hours, 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Sheehan- Hilborn- Breen Funeral Home 1084 New Britain Avenue, West Hartford, CT
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 AM, Saturday, May 12th at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, 285 Church Street, Hartford, CT. Burial will be in Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery, Bloomfield.
Those wishing to make a charitable donation in his memory are directed to The House of Bread, 1453 Main St. Hartford, CT 06120. Online condolences may be made at www.SheehanHilbornBreen.com