Helen K. McKeon passed away Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012; she was born in 1922. Her husband, Thomas V. McKeon, passed away Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012; he was born in 1917.
On the morning of Oct. 31, Tom joined his beloved Helen. They are together again.
Their love story began 74 years ago on a summer’s day at Glen Island in New Rochelle, N.Y. Tom’s summer job while attending Amherst College was as a lifeguard at Glen Island Beach, where Helen spent summer days swimming in the waters of Long Island Sound. Shortly after meeting they began a journey of partnership.
After graduating in 1939, Tom worked for NBC in New York City as a writer and Helen worked at Sloans in New York City as a bookkeeper. Once the U.S. engaged in World War II, Tom enlisted in the Army as a member of the storied 10th Mountain Division. A man with a strong sense of right and wrong, his first deployment to the Aleutian Islands landed him in the brig for refusing to shoot on command when on a foggy night he believed he might be engaging in friendly fire against his own division, which was in fact true.
Tom and Helen married in 1946 and moved to Colorado Springs, where their son Thomas Christopher “Kit” was born. From there they embarked on a world adventure where they experienced living and serving in Panama, Puerto Rico (where their daughter Caroline was born), Japan, Iceland and Okinawa.
Col. McKeon retired from the Army in 1971. They drove to Florida looking for a place to spend their post-military years, visiting many towns on the east and west coasts of Florida. While driving up Tamiami Trail a sign reading “Venice, City on the Gulf” caught their attention. Driving west on Venice Avenue, through its authentic downtown and ending on Venice beach to catch the sunset, they had found a home. They owned A.R.E.A. Real Estate for 25 years and made many friends through their business.
Tom loved language and writing and was always surrounded by books. His passion, other than Helen, was golf. Helen had the heart of an artist, which was evident in her watercolor painting, flower arranging and gardening and myriad of collections, including Japanese woodblock prints and glassware, sea shells, sea glass, sharks’ teeth, fossils, stamps and coins from around the world.
Throughout the last years of their lives they never lost their sense of humor or interest in other people. They were grateful for long lives shared together with family and friends.
Kit and his wife, Wanda, and Caroline and her husband, John Hoover, want to thank the caregivers who assisted them in making the days as happy and rewarding as possible for their parents. Love and appreciation go out to Leah Wann, who was their partner in care giving for seven years; the nurses of Alliance Care; Dr. Richard Diamond; and the staff at Village On The Isle and Tidewell Hospice.
Services: A private service will be held at a later date
Contributions: In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Paralyzed Veterans of America or the Sarasota County Humane Society.