WWII veteran had welcoming presence
“Chub” Keeno got his nickname because his baby sisters could not pronounce “Clarence.”
“He wasn't chubby at all,” his son-in-law, Matt Cavalier, said. “He was a thin guy. But he's been called that since he was four years old.”
Clarence E. Keeno of Latrobe died Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, after suffering a stroke. He was 89.
Mr. Keeno was born Nov. 5, 1926, a son of the late Frank J. and Grace Little Keeno. He grew up in Latrobe and left high school after his junior year to join the Navy and fight in World War II. After serving 18 months aboard the destroyer USS Vogelgesang in the Atlantic, he returned home and finished high school, graduating in 1948.
He earned a two-year degree in metallurgical engineering from Carnegie Tech and had a 39-year career with Kennametal at its Kingston plant, where he retired in 1985 as a production manager.
On July 11, 1953, he married his wife of 63 years, Lucy M. Masse Keeno.
Cavalier met Mr. Keeno in 1985, when he started dating his daughter, Diane.
“He was a typical father, making sure his daughter was cared for,” Cavalier said. “I think I struck an accord with him because our first date was to go to the church and have a meal, then we went to a movie afterward.”
Mr. Keeno enjoyed golfing and was a member of Kennametal's internal golf league, according to longtime friend Jeff Wolfe of Latrobe.
“He had a regular foursome that went out to the Elks in Latrobe and played golf all the time,” said Wolfe, who has known Mr. Keeno since 1968 and made him godfather to his daughter.
He enjoyed working on Sudoku puzzles.
“As a former engineer, he enjoyed the mathematics in everything,” Cavalier said.
In the past two or three years, Cavalier said, Mr. Keeno began writing a journal of his experiences.
Mr. Keeno was a member of American Legion Post 515, the Cooperstown Veterans & Sportsmen Association and the Kingston Veterans & Sportsmen Club.
Cavalier said his father-in-law “never had a mean word to say about anybody.”
“Everyone who's stopped by the funeral home had a story, and they said he always had a smile on his face,” he said. “He always made people feel welcome and comfortable.”
Wolfe said Mr. Keeno was the most unselfish person he's ever met.
“He was a soft-spoken, easygoing, personable guy,” Wolfe said. “He was always pleasant and always had something good to say.”
Mr. Keeno is survived by his wife, Lucy M. Masse Keeno; two daughters, Kathy Sutyak of Latrobe and Diane Cavalier of Greensburg; and four grandchildren.
Military services will be at 9:15 a.m. Thursday at the John J. Lopatich Funeral Home, 601 Weldon St., Latrobe, by the Latrobe Derry Veterans Honor Guard. A funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. at St. Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, with interment to follow at St. Mary's Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made to Adams Memorial Library, 1112 Ligonier St., Latrobe, PA 15650.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.