Theresa M. Keene

Theresa M. Keene

Theresa Mae Williams Keene was born on June 10, 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio to her wonderful parents, Lonnie and Hazel (Hudson) Williams. She was thrilled that little sister Rita joined her 2 years later and they completed the family by welcoming brother Lonnie 2 years after that. She fondly remembered growing up on Beckman Avenue, visiting family in Alabama and Texas, her mother doing day work for families in the suburbs and her dad working hard for the railroad. A favorite memory was asking her father for change for chocolate milk and potato chips to go with her home-made sandwich. He’d hand it to her and say “enjoy”. Years later, she found out he’d forgo his cup of coffee on those work days just to see the smile on her face. They were the first family on the street to get a telephone and her parents would leave the side door open for friends to come in, use it and leave a nickel on the table, if they had it. This giving spirit was passed down to her as Theresa was the most genuine, caring and self-less person you could find.

“Terry” to many, was baptized at the age of 12 at Triedstone Baptist Church and was involved in many activities including Sunday School, BTU, Senior Choir and Usher Board. Theresa graduated from John Hay High School in the January, 1953. In the summer of her senior year, she took and passed the Civil Service test. She was offered several jobs but had to complete high school first. She excelled in typing and was one of few students who earned their 100 WPM shorthand pin. Upon graduation, she accepted a job with the United States Navy finance department and was responsible for sending out paychecks to Navy personnel.

While roller skating at the Pla-Mor, she met Walter Keene and they were married at Antioch Baptist Church on July 18, 1954. As Walt was in the Marines, they were stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (where their first child was born) before moving back to Cleveland. Her greatest joy was her “4 precious jewels” Bruce Michael, Debra Michelle, Pamela Elaine and Mark Eliot. Her love of the Lord was deeply instilled in them and all were baptized at Antioch, being 3rd generation; and making their grandparents Stanley and Norma Keene very proud.

Terry was a faithful servant of Antioch and her love and commitment remained for over 60 years. She enjoyed and participated in many ministries including singing in the Sanctuary Choir and being a Sunday School teacher. She was a charter member and the first president of the Ruth B. McKinney Missionary Circle and was blessed to have so many sisters in Christ. She was “daughter” and caregiver to many childless women at Antioch and wore that title as a badge of honor. She was a faithful member of The Awayouts, a group of girlfriends who traveled, dined and celebrated each other’s birthdays for the last 60 years.

Excelling in the secretarial/administrative field she worked for Attorney John H. Bustamante, her brother-in-law, James E. Haynes’ real estate company Versatile Properties and later retired from Cleveland Psychiatric Institute. Her most recent self-titled job was that of Intercessory Prayer Warrior. Her yellow legal pads (and there were many) were filled with specific names and prayer requests. She single-handedly kept the USPS and Hallmark in business with all the greeting cards and notes she sent to friends and loved ones. She had a daily morning prayer that ended with “Now as I continue this day Father, help me to do that which is pleasing in your sight. Help me to be an Ambassador for You and in all that I say or do, I’ll be careful to give you all the glory. All of these prayers I ask in the name of Your Son, My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen”.

Theresa was blessed to celebrate her 88th birthday with friends and family from near and far on June 10th and was called home to glory on June 25, 2022. She’s eternally reunited with her parents Lonnie and Hazel Williams, brother Lonnie Williams, Jr. and other dear family. She will be forever loved and endlessly adored by her four children; Bruce Keene of Bedford OH, Debra Keene of Beachwood OH, Pamela Hailey (Vincent) of Hanover Park, IL and Mark Keene of Warrensville Heights, OH; sister, Rita L. Haynes (James); grandchildren, Capricia McConnell, Amber Keith, Andre and Trevon Keene and Jordan and Bria Hailey; 5 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great granddaughters. Her Aunts Gwen Lazard (Jack) and Mary George Hudson, cherished nieces, nephews, cousins, and many special friends have memories to last a lifetime. She impacted so many people and was “mother” to a list too numerous to name. Know that you all are loved!

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