John Grover Keck

[No Photo]
September 12th, 1935 - April 25th, 2009

From: Alton, MO
Visitation: n/a
Funeral: 10am, Wednesday
April 29, 2009
Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church
Burial: n/a

John Grover Keck was born on September 12, 1935 in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, to Mary Jean De Roulhac Keck and John Virgil Keck. His mother cared for John and his younger brother, Jack, in Rogers, Arkansas, when their father went to Europe as an officer with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
After the war the family moved to Hope, Arkansas, where John made friendships that would last a lifetime. He was considered a thoughtful and earnest young man, quiet and somewhat shy. He spent much of his free time hunting and fishing, often by himself, and became an accomplished outdoorsman. John played football at Hope High School and, after graduating in 1953, joined the Marine Corps and served in Korea. He returned to Camp Pendleton, near San Diego, California where he was assigned to the First Engineering Battalion of the First Marine Division.

On weekend leave with a Marine Corps buddy to the mountain town of Big Bear, California, he met the love of his life, Lynda Carolyn Mabe, whom he wed on Feb. 9, 1957. They faced much joy and heartbreak together through 52 years of marriage, and were rarely apart. She learned to share his love for the outdoors, taking on everything from quick weekend camping trips to long backpacking excursions deep into the forests of Johnís beloved Sierra Nevada of California. Meanwhile, he learned to share her affection for animals and in making their home a sanctuary for Godís creatures that would otherwise have none.

John attended the University of Arkansas before moving his young family to Los Angeles where he took a job at Bekins Moving and Storage. In his 36-year career at Bekins he rose from working long hours on the loading docks to becoming an operations manager for the companyís Pacific Region. He was active in the community and in organizations, becoming president of the North Valley YMCA and raising champion Old English Sheepdogs with Lynda. But his greatest passion was for his family. He raised two sons, David and Eric, before retiring from Bekins in 1997.

John and Lynda traveled some, then moved to Alton, Missouri, where Lyndaís father once lived. For the first time after leaving Arkansas five decades before, John felt he had truly found home. He took pride in his community and among other activities was elected to the board of BB Rd. Volunteer Fire Department. He purchased a bakery with Lynda and Eric, but mostly relaxed and mused about the mysteries of life. He enjoyed the birds, the trees and the squirrels of southern Missouri. He liked fishing with his sons and watching the Eleven Points River flow by. Most of all he loved the people of Alton, their values and beliefs. He felt privileged to be called their neighbor.

John died peacefully in Springfield, Missouri, on April 25, 2009. He was preceded in death by his parents, one toddler son and two infant sons. He is survived by his wife Lynda of Alton, sons Eric of Alton and David of Wrightwood, California, and Davidís wife, Lori, grand-daughter Stephanie of Aurora, Colorado and his brother Jack of Alabama.

A memorial service will be held 10am Wednesday, April 29, 2009, at the Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church, with Bro. Edward Casey officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of the Clary Funeral Home of Alton, MO.

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