Cover photo for James Terrell Keene's Obituary
James Terrell Keene Profile Photo

James Terrell Keene

March 20, 1930 — February 15, 2022

James Terrell Keene

James Terrell Keene, age 91, of Kalamazoo MI, passed away peacefully at Rose Arbor on February 15th, 2022. He was born the second of two children to Bernice Lucille (Terrell) and Leo Eldon Keene, on March 20, 1930 in Kalamazoo.

He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and went on to graduate from Western Michigan University. Jim met the love of his life, Marilyn Marie Mason while attending WMU, and on July 27th, 1951 they were married. Soon after, Jim and Marilyn moved to California for Jim's service in the US Army during the Korean conflict. After returning to Kalamazoo, he began his career at the Upjohn Company, retiring from there in 1988. A loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Jim especially enjoyed being a great-grandpa. He had many hobbies, including flying airplanes, hunting and woodworking. He also built the home where he and Marilyn raised their two daughters and later, their retirement home in the Vicksburg area. 

Jim was a kind and loving individual, who lived fully and loved with his whole heart. He adored his wife and life partner Marilyn, his children and many lifelong friends. 

He was a great storyteller, often sharing his childhood exploits, hunting excursions, times spent with his brother Richard, and his many adventures with friends. Jim will be lovingly remembered by his daughters Suzanne (Brian) Rucker, Lori (Floyd) Phalen; grandchildren Lindsey Rucker, James (Maggie) Rucker, Emily (Kyle Waite) Rucker; great-grandchildren Marilyn Waite, Eric Waite, Max Rucker and Charlie Rucker; sister-in-law Janis (Jack) Loomis and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 67 years, Marliyn; and his parents, brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Avis Keene; sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Ed Vanden Akker; nephews Ron Keene, Brian Loomis, and nieces Diane Burhans and Sharon Loomis.   

A full life well lived deserves a special celebration. You are invited to help us honor the life of Jim Keene. Please bring your stories, your laughs, and your memories to celebrate a life that was lived to the fullest. The gathering will take place on June 11 at 2:00 PM at the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church, 342 N Grand St, Schoolcraft, MI 49087.  Beverages and dessert, always a favorite of Jim’s, will be provided after the celebration. To help with preparations, we ask that you let us know if you plan to come to this gathering by calling, or texting 517-930-2975 or by email to by June 4th.

Private burial services will be held at Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Jim’s name to Doctors Without Borders. The family would like to thank the many wonderful people who provided our dad and grandpa with such loving care and support, including staff at Rose Arbor and Woodside at Friendship Village.

While at please take time to sign James' guestbook and/or share a memory with his family.

The Keene family is being cared for by the Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes and Cremation Society, 129 S. Grand Street, Schoolcraft, MI 49087. (269) 679-5622.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Terrell Keene, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Schoolcraft United Methodist Church

342 North Grand Street, Schoolcraft, MI 49087

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