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James Lawrence Keeley Jr.

Born: Fri., Jul. 8, 1927
Died: Tue., Nov. 17, 2015


Graveside Service

10:00 AM Wed., Dec. 09, 2015
Location: Ft. Huachuca Post Cemetery


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James Lawrence Keeley, Jr. July 8, 1927 — November 17, 2015 Nov 30, 2015

James Lawrence Keeley, Jr., a resident of Arizona for 51 years, died on Nov. 17, 2015. He was 88. James was born to James Lawrence Sr. and Margaret Keeley on July 8, 1927, in Myrtle Point, Ore.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, his parents, and his five siblings.

James served in the U.S. Armed Services was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. James's service to his country began at age 16, when he left high school to join the Navy and fight in the Pacific Ocean theater. He later joined the Army and was assigned to the U.S. Constabulary stationed in Berlin during the Berlin Blockade. After retiring from the Army, he worked in Civil Service at Fort Huachuca. His service to the Armed Forces was publicly commemorated in 2013, when he was invited on an "Honor Flight" trip to the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Upon returning home to a cheering crowd at the Tucson Airport, he described it as a "trip of a lifetime.”

James met his first wife, Siegrid Keeley, while serving in Germany. They married in 1952 and remained together for 58 years. Shortly after their wedding, James was deployed to Korea to fight in the Korean War. Upon his return, James and Siegrid raised their three children while living on military bases across Japan, Germany, and the United States. After beloved Siegrid's death in 2011, the bereaved James met Armida and their friendship blossomed. They married in November of 2012 and would have celebrated their third wedding anniversary this month. Armida was a dear friend and a loving wife to James, and she was a great comfort to him throughout his final weeks of life.

James was an enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer, always dreaming up and building new contraptions. Some of his inventions, like the floor buffer that spun so fast it burned a hole in the floor and the solar water heater which exploded with its own heat, sounded promising in theory but in fact worked rather too well. While in his 80s, James and his son-in-law succeeded in building a kit-build aircraft. He spent many happy hours tinkering away over the airplane, and it proved a great source of joy to him. His tinkering also extended to the garden, and, even in the final summer of his life, he was an avid gardener, busily planting all varieties of vegetables and flowers in his tiny backyard, which he affectionately called "the farm."

James is survived by his three children, Rosalie Ott, James Keeley, and Michelle Fuller, his three grandchildren, Cameron Ott and Shane and Noelle Keeley, and his second wife, Armida Keeley. A loving husband, father, and grandfather, James was also a deeply generous man and a good neighbor. He will be remembered above all else for his generosity and his willingness to always lend a helping hand to others.

A service will be held Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. at the Fort Huachuca Cemetery.

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