Cover photo for George F. Keenan's Obituary
George F. Keenan Profile Photo

George F. Keenan

November 19, 1927 — January 18, 2024


George F. Keenan

When water beckoned, George Francis Keenan (b. Nov. 19,1927, Detroit) did not hesitate and wholeheartedly jumped in with both feet. George, who passed away Jan. 18, 2024, in Gaylord surrounded by family, at the age of 96, proudly served as a member of the United States Coast Guard after World War II and held a lifelong infatuation with bodies of water, having spent a good part of his life living on or near Michigan’s freshwater and great lakes.

George enlisted in the United States Coast Guard in 1946 and in 1949 married the love of his life Eugenia (deceased). George, with Jean, was then stationed on the shores of Lake Michigan in Ludington where he finished out his enlistment. When his service to country was completed George and Jean raised a large Irish-Catholic family of nine children - Karen (Bill) Reed, Judy (deceased), Donna (Mike) Jones, Peggy (Brennan) Perlinski, Mary (Paul) Drotar, George/Buck (deceased), Maureen (Nick) Bart, Mike (Sally) Keenan, and Tim (Karen) Keenan, in Union Lake north of Detroit.

Several years after retiring from a management position with General Motors in Pontiac George and Jean purchased Lake Michigan lakefront property on the UP’s Garden Peninsula overlooking Big Bay deNoc with the intention of building a home to spend their golden years. Unfortunately Jean passed away suddenly but George made the best of things and built his “dream” house, doing all the finish work himself. An avid golfer George joined a newly built club on the peninsula and made many friends. After 20 years of U.P. living spent golfing, berry picking, hunting and fishing, George bought a house in Michaywe near Gaylord, to be closer to family.

Highlights from a long life well lived include a visit to the Hawaiian islands with Jean, family  vacations to KP Lake near Grayling, Saturday afternoons shared with his dancing children to the latest purchased record album on the hi-fi, family snowmobiling on property near Frederic, endless rounds of golf and fishing and hunting trips; including the fishing excursion of a lifetime in the wilds of Alaska, an ancestral visit to the homeland of Ireland, several jaunts to all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica and Mexico and proudly basking in the antics and accomplishments of his 15 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

All this was capped off in 2022 when he was inducted into the Michigan U. S. Coast Guard hall of fame in Rogers City, surrounded by family and well wishers.  

George, as one of four children born to Francis and Gertrude (Halm) Keenan, was preceded in death by a brother, Jim Keenan; a sister, Margaret (Madge) Cargill, and is survived by a beloved younger sister, Mary Alice South.

A mass and celebration of life for George will be held at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in White Lake, MI, where he and Jean were longtime parishioners and Jean taught school. Funeral Mass will  held on Friday, April 19, 2024, at 11:00 A.M. with visitation from 10:00 - 10:45 A.M.   Luncheon will follow immediately after in the Parish Hall.  Burial arrangements will be held by the family privately.

As George was want to say at the end of a visit with family: “I’m gonna bug.”

Please share your memories and personal messages with the family on his guestbook below.

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