OLD TOWN – Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force, ANG, retired, Robert “Bob” Edward Keane died peacefully Thursday, April 18, 2013, from respiratory failure. He was born Feb. 1, 1932, in Manhattan, New York City, to mother, Gertrude and father, Michael Keane.
He came from humble beginnings, when, at the age of eight, he, his mother and two of his sisters were left homeless on a street corner in New York City on a cold, snowy December night. He had to start working to help support his family at a young age and faithfully delivered newspapers and groceries in his neighborhood. His intelligence and initiative served him well, as he was accepted to the prestigious Commerce High School and, upon graduation, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, 1953. While on leave, he met a beautiful girl from Old Town named, Elizabeth Lee Arsenault, who was visiting New York City with friends and they both fell deeply in love and married one year later. The two headed to Austin, Texas, for the remainder of Bob’s active service and had the first of five children. He entered the Air National Guard in 1955 and was a navigator on various aircrafts including the F-89 Scorpion and was a member of the Maineiacs. Bob also went to the University of Maine on his GI Bill and by the time he graduated with honors in government in 1960 he had two more mouths to feed. He was now in love with the state of Maine and would remain there all his life. After graduation, he started his career as a personnel director at various paper companies located in Maine and during this time, he and Betty had the last two of their children to complete their family. In 1967 he accepted a position at the University of Maine and stayed as their personnel director for 20 years and received his masters degree in public administration, 1980. He led an exciting and active life with 29 years in the Air National Guard and retired as a lieutenant colonel and a 25 year career in personnel management. In 1988 he retired from Colby College and was elected to the Maine House of Representatives 117th legislature and proudly served the people of Maine. He served the community in many ways including as an Old Town school board and planning board member and vocational school board chairman, United Technologies Center, was very active in the JayCees and Knights of Columbus and was a devoted catholic. He was a city boy who thoroughly relished the wilds of Maine. He enjoyed all outdoor activities including hunting for whitetail deer at his camp in Greenfield and for mule deer and elk in Montana, fishing Sunkaze, canoeing the Allagash, hiking Katahdin and sailing off the Maine coast. But he especially enjoyed the sport of golf, especially with his children and his friends. He was happiest when he had a driver in his hand playing courses from Mactaquac to Melbourne. We will miss his wit, his spirited debates, his dedication to his family, especially his grandchildren and his selfless love. He was a religious man, a loving husband, a wonderful father and a caring friend. He had a strong moral compass that was guided by his love of God.
He was predeceased by his loving wife, Betty; sisters, Lillian Hubbard and Florence Gardner; and brother, Joseph Scahill. He is survived by his five children and their families, Bob Keane and wife, Liz, of Missoula, Mont., and their children, Hannah and Holly, Steve Keane and wife, Marie, of Bethel and their children, Katlyn, Molly and Matthew, Kathleen Benoit and husband, Tom, of Orono and their children, Patrick, John and Philip, Gary Keane and wife, Terrie, of Dover-Foxcroft and their children, Meghan, Rachel and Sam and John Keane and wife, Mary, of Bradley and their children, Lauren and Robbie; brother, Charles Scahill and sister, Laura Fealey and husband, Frank, all from New Jersey; sister, Bernadette Ireland of Washington; 16 nieces and nephews; and no cousins.
Friends may call 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Monday, April 22, at Birmingham Funeral Home, 438 Main St., Old Town. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. Tuesday, at Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Family Church, Old Town. Burial with military honors will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, Old Town. Immediately after services at the cemetery, all are invited to Holy Family Parish Hall for a light luncheon and continued fellowship. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Holy Family Parish Food Pantry, 429 Main St., Old Town, ME 04468. Notes of condolence may be left at www.birminghamfuneralhome.com.