Walter Benjamin Keene
- October 26, 2022
Walter Benjamin Keene, age 89, passed away on October 15, 2022.
OBITUARY OF WALTER BENJAMIN KEENE
January 14, 1933 – October 16, 2022
Walter Benjamin Keene entered this world on January 14, 1933 in Cleveland, Ohio to his excited parents, Stanley C. and Norma (Bruce) Keene. He was an only child but had fond memories of hanging with his first cousins James Belton and Joanne Fortes Swann. Walt was baptized at Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio and spent time singing in the Youth Choir and attending Sunday School. He often watched his mom Norma and Aunt Blonnie cook for many church functions and certainly snuck a sample from time to time. He attended and graduated from East High School where he was part of the Audio Visual and Photography clubs. (This would prove to be very valuable for his future). Walt also excelled at sports; running track as a sprinter and playing first base and pitcher in baseball. He loved all sports and attended as many games as possible going back to the Cleveland Barons and Cleveland Crusaders hockey teams. Whenever he wore his “Walt” monogrammed Cavaliers jacket people thought he was the Cav’s Walt Wesley and always asked for his autograph.
Attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; Walt was on the staff as a campus photographer and also joined Sigma Theta Epsilon; one of the few religious fraternities on campus. He wanted to become a pilot and later went to pilot training school in Rantoul, IL. While 100 people started the course only 8 would make it to the end. He ended up in the top 10 and was offered to be trained as a bombardier, not a pilot. Disappointed in the results and much to his parents’ chagrin, he decided to join the Marines. He was initially sent to Vieques, Puerto Rico and attended a presentation when the AV equipment wouldn’t work. He fixed it 2 nights in a row and an officer asked him about his experience. After recapping his background, they sent him out to take pictures (using a Crown Graphic camera) and develop the film. The next day, they asked if he wanted to join Special Services as a Photographer and that became his job while stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. After 3 ½ years he was honorably discharged and served in the Marine Corps Reserves in Cleveland Ohio until 1961.
Walt met Theresa Williams at a local Cleveland roller skating rink. They married in 1954; reared and loved four children; Bruce, Debra, Pamela and Mark and raised them in Christian faith at Antioch. Walt continued his love of photography and started his own photography business; Keene Photography where his motto was “Be Keen, See Keene”. Everyone in the house (and all the kids in the neighborhood) knew not to open the door in the basement when the red light was on as he was developing film. His love of photography was passed down from his father Stanley and he passed it on to all of his children and grandchildren.
Walt was employed as a buyer with Clevite who ultimately was purchased by Gould Ocean Systems, Inc. He moved on to Cleveland Track Materials Inc. as a Purchasing Manager and retired (not really) from Chase Brass and Copper as the Head of Purchasing and Stores. He never really retired as Walt coached and refereed Bee Buzz and Little League baseball for decades and won championship titles. He donated his own trophies so the kids would have some. Walt was also a member of the Euclid Auxiliary Police Department for 25 years and was well known and beloved in the community. At 89 years old, Walt dressed in his uniform and drove his newly- leased car to work 3 days a week. Something about those Keene Genes as his dad worked into his 80’s as well.
Excelling in bowling, Walt was on leagues for many years and that left-handed curve ball helped him win the Postal Federal Employees National Bowling Tournament men’s single championship. Walt was teaching a kid’s bowling league at Ambassador Lanes when he met Ramona Long while she bowled in a league. They lost contact but fortunately a year later they reconnected. Walt and Ramona were married on June 21, 1992 in Cleveland, Ohio. Ramona’s son Charles and daughter Lucienna brought the combined children count to 6 and while most were grown; became one happy, blended family. Walt and Ramona loved to travel; whether a quick trip to Canada or a relaxing vacation in Cancun. They enjoyed spending time at their camping trailer at Crooked Creek Conservation Club and he complained but loved it when she decorated with fancy curtains. While he’d never admit it out loud, he loved to tag along on house sale adventures and definitely came home with a TV and other treasures for himself. Not always do you get an additional chance at love but Walt and Ramona did and celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in June.
Walt loved his crossword puzzles, playing Words with Friends on his iPad and spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He answered to Husband, Dad, Popa, Sir, and Grandpa and had all the time in the world for his family…except for 7:30pm – 8:00pm when nothing came between him and his beloved Jeopardy! After a life well lived, Walt departed this earthly life on October 16, 2022 and is reunited with his parents Stanley and Norma Keene. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 30 years Ramona Long Keene; children Bruce Keene of Bedford OH, Debra Keene of Beachwood OH, Pamela Hailey (Vincent) of Hanover Park IL, Mark Keene of Warrensville Heights OH, Charles Tazewell IV (Lori) of Cleveland OH and Lucienna Long of Cleveland Heights OH. 9 Grandchildren; Capricia McConnell, Amber Keith, Andre and Trevon Keene, Jordan and Bria Hailey, Charles Tazewell V (Leandria), Sabrina and Deylan Black. 8 Great-grandchildren Shania, Alexandria, Makayla, Jayden, Ashley, Kameron, Kamari and Amari and 5 great-great granddaughters. He will lovingly be remembered by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and other cherished family and friends.