Mary Joan Keen

Mary Joan Keen – Mary was born in Ottawa, the second child of Harry and Lucie Driver. When the Great Depression set in the family moved to Jasper, Alberta where her father became a park warden. Mary and her sisters, Jackie and Simone, grew up skiing, hiking, and horseback riding in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

Mary’s mother would sometimes go over to the Jasper Fire Hall to use the phone and stay for a visit with Kay Keen. (The Keen family lived above the fire hall). It was only natural that the children would play together during these visits. And so at a very young age Mary got to know Ralph. In later years, she often recounted how she used to pick up his toys and tidy his closet. Little did she know at the time that they would grow up, fall in love and get married in the Little White Church in the Rockies.

Before settling down to married life Mary attended secretarial college in Edmonton and then moved to Whitehorse to work. In her spare time she taught tap dancing to her many young students.

Always an adventurer Mary set off hitchhiking across Canada with her friend Eva. After reaching Montreal they boarded a ship bound for Europe. Once there, they hitchhiked throughout England & Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria & Italy. Arriving back in Canada, they bravely hitchhiked home in the middle of winter.

Once married, more traveling was on the horizon and over the years the military life took Ralph and Mary from one end of Canada to the other. The birthplaces of their three daughters reflect their many moves with Sukoshi born in Jasper, AB (Ralph was serving a year in Korea at the time of her birth), Sherri born in Chilliwack, BC, and Brenda born in Kingston, ON. They also spent three years in Soest, Germany & three years in Nairobi, Kenya. Some of the interesting places they visited were Greece, Egypt, Brazil, Thailand, Israel, & Hawaii.

Mary (Sunny as she was often called) was the best weather predictor, often tapping her barometer and making a proclamation. She was a proud and protective mother who always supported her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Her freshly made sandwiches were a family favourite along with the delicious meals she whipped up. And her date squares, shortbread and mincemeat tarts became a family tradition. She was known for being open and honest and never holding back. There was no slowing her down (she ran everywhere), especially when she wanted to “get going”. She remained young-at-heart her entire life and was always up for anything.

Eventually Mary and Ralph settled back in Chilliwack, where they remained for over 30 years, always ready to welcome family and friends into their lovely home.

Mary will be missed dearly by all who knew her. We are certain she is dancing once again with her beloved Ralph!

Mary is survived by her three daughters: Sukoshi Fahey, Sherri Bellah, & Brenda Keen (Ryan Anderson); grandson Jeremy Fahey (Melissa); granddaughters Tamara Straiton and Tania Straiton (Zac Chow); and great granddaughters Jordan & Justine Fahey & great grandson Kado Straiton.

She is also survived by her two sisters, Jackie McMillan & Simone Williams, sister-in-law Sharon Keen and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers the family prefers donations be made to the Salvation Army.

Comox Valley Record


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