Jefferson Ward Keener, Jr., 84, passed away peacefully on September 8, 2017. Born in Akron, Ohio he was preceeded in death by his parents Marian (Feudner) and J. Ward Keener and by his wife of 55 years, Kathleen Cullinan Keener.
Jeff was born September 29, 1932 and grew up in Akron, Ohio. He attended Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio where he cultivated friendships that would last a lifetime. His love for that academic institution and what it represented led him back years later to serve as a board member for nearly 30 years. Jeff earned a B.A. in Economics and English from Amherst College in Massachusetts where he became fond of the poetry of Robert Frost and cigars; and he earned his M.B.A. in Industrial Management from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Following graduate school, Jeff joined the United States Naval Reserve and rose to the rank of Lieutenant.
Following the Navy, Jeff began his professional career with The Mohawk Rubber Company in Akron (1959-1976) followed by A.T. Kearney in Cleveland (1976-1978). In 1978, he struck out on his own and purchased a division of Ball Corporation and started The Chardon Rubber Company which he ran with great success for 30 years.
Jeff loved to travel far and wide but was, perhaps, most content to travel to his beloved Higgins Lake in Michigan where he enjoyed the lake, the Au Sable River and spending time with family. Jeff was many things to many people. He valued his family and friends above all else and did anything he could to aid a friend in need or to offer a helping hand. He was a husband, father, brother, mentor and a fierce advocate for organizations in which he believed including serving on the Board of WRA as well as Akron General Medical Center, Family and Children’s Services of Summit County, United Way Services Board of Geauga County, and numerous Professional Boards.
He is survived by his children, Marian K. (James) DeVoe, Patricia Lee (Charles) Mazzola, Elizabeth F. Keener, and Jefferson W. Keener III all of Akron; brothers, Alan (Catherine) Keener of Naples, Florida, and Robert (Polly) Keener of Akron; grandchildren Cullin Kathleen Arn, Ashley DeVoe (Ryan) Breiding, Frances Mazzola Brotherton and Nina Mazzola; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to give special thanks to Dr. Molly Scantling, Patti Latham, Judi Loomis and Laura Speaks.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, 11:00 am at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 50 N. Prospect St., Akron. Interment Rose Hill Burial Park.
Memorial contributions may be made to the J. Ward and Marian Keener Prize at Western Reserve Academy, 115 College Street, Hudson, Ohio 44236 or to The Cleveland Clinic Akron General Visiting Nurse Service Hospice, 3358 Ridgewood Road, Akron, Ohio 44333.
Pack cocktail glass to the rim with ice
Fill ¾ of the way with Plymouth Gin (or your favorite gin)
Whisper ½ capful of Dry Vermouth over the top
Garnish with a lemon twist
Let sit until ice melts enough to bring cocktail nearly to the rim