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Margaretta Mary Keenan Obituary


Memories & Candles

“So sorry to hear of Gaygae's passing. It was so nice to see her this last October, I only wish that we lived closer and could have visited more...Read More »
1 of 9 | Posted by: Diane & Zach Baal - Monona, WI

“Mom was the greatest! We had such a wonderful life with her, growing up in Iowa, then so many great years exploring Wyoming and the west. She was a...Read More »
2 of 9 | Posted by: Alene Keenan - Fort Lauderdale, FL

“So many great memories of Gaegay and family. So many wonderful memories, growing up and visits to Lansing. She was a dear sweet Lady. ”
3 of 9 | Posted by: Keith Baal - Cambridge, WI

“To Louise & the whole family. Sorry to have read about your mother's passing. Your family is in my prayers. At this difficult time remember to...Read More »
4 of 9 | Posted by: Judy Kumpf - La Crescent, MN

“Gone from this world but not from my heart. Will miss you, you have left me with many wonderful memories. Rest in peace wonderful lady. ”
5 of 9 | Posted by: vangie mckenna - clutier, IA

“What a geat lady who raised a wonderful family. I have very good memories of her and Walt. My thoughts and prayers are with the extended family. ...Read More »
6 of 9 | Posted by: Keith Johnson

“Walt & Meg were my God-parents. They were very good friends of my Ma & Dad back in the day. My thoughts & prayers are with you. Ron Strub ”
7 of 9 | Posted by: ron strub - hemet, CA - God-child

“you were a very special person that always gave unconditional love, you will be dearly missed. All of your survivors will be remembered in my...Read More »
8 of 9 | Posted by: BRIDGET MCKENNA ROBINSON - IL

“My heartfelt sympathy goes to "Ma's" family. She is unforgettable for all the right reasons - a true ray of sunshine. I'm sure she is shaking...Read More »
9 of 9 | Posted by: Rosanne Murphy - Powhatan, VA


Margaretta Mary Keenan slipped softly away from this life on December 5, 2012 at Thornton Manor Nursing Home in Lansing, Iowa. She was born May 24, 1921 to Oscar and Clara (Wild) Smerud on the family farm in Houston County, MN, near New Albin, Iowa, and was the fifth of eleven children.
Margaretta, called Gaegay or Meg by family and friends, attended country school in Houston County, MN and graduated from New Albin High School.
On November 26, 1940 she married Walter F. Keenan of Waukon, IA. They lived briefly in Chicago, Des Moines and Waterloo, IA before settling on the farm on English Bench in rural Dorchester, IA where they farmed until 1956. After Walt bought the Ford garage in Lansing, they moved to a farm on nearby Dry Ridge, and later, in 1961, moved into Lansing. In 1975, Walt, Margaretta and their youngest son, Tim, moved to Wyoming where Walt became Sales Manager at McGee Murphy Ford. After enjoying years of exploring the mountains and byways in their spare time, they retired back to Waukon in 1990.
Over the years, Meg sold World Book encyclopedias, placing these venerable books in many families' homes. She was also a tour bus escort for Hiawatha Coaches, traveling nationwide and up into Canada, and worked as a nurse aide for Allamakee County for years. During her time in Wyoming, she worked for the Department of Human Services for the State of Wyoming. Her duties included caring for people in their homes, and often, with her remarkable gift for comforting others, she was at clients' bedsides when they passed on. She always had a special gift for helping the frightened or the unfortunate.
Meg had a big heart and her actions of healing and hospitality were legion. Her children's friends called her Ma Keenan and often sought refuge in her home; she never refused anyone. The door was always open and the coffee pot was on. Upon the death of her younger sister, she took two nieces into her home and maintained close ties with them the rest of her life. The love she had for family and friends extended to all those she cared for, whether personally or as a caretaker of any sort.
In later years, she delighted staff at the nursing home with her amusing, sometimes outrageous, remarks and her down to earth observations. She was very lovingly tended with respect and affection there, and her family extends gratitude and blessings to the wonderful staff of Thornton Manor.
Meg was a lifetime learner and had a myriad of interests. Some of her memberships included Ladies Auxiliary VFW, No. 4117 of Waukon, the Allamakee County Historical Society, the Wyoming Archeological Society and she was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Waukon. Upon moving to the nursing home, she became a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Lansing. She was a deeply spiritual person and her rosary beads were always near at hand.
She enjoyed gardening, reading, cooking, bird watching, hiking, swimming, fishing, collecting rock specimens in the desert, spending time in the mountains, cross-country skiing, and entertaining family and friends. She was happiest when her family gathered around her. Her Sunday dinners were famous.
She is survived by eight children, Tina (Catherine) Keenan and Louise Keenan of La Crosse, WI; John (Pat) Keenan and Mary Ellen Mohn of Lansing, IA; Denise Keenan of Milwaukee, WI; Kevin (Maria) Keenan and Tim Keenan of Grand Junction, CO; and Alene Keenan of Fort Lauderdale, FL; three brothers, John Smerud of New Albin, IA; Alfred (Lorna) Smerud of La Crosse, WI; and Donald Smerud of Waukon, IA.
Grandchildren include Jason Flanagan, Jared (Patti Bilotti) Flanagan, Jamin (Jessica) Flanagan, Sara (Jason) Smith, Bill Keenan (Teresa Severson) and Jody (Nate) Allen, Nathan (Sarah) Schnick, Andrea Schnick, Adam (Cheri) Olson, April (Scott) Stafford, Chloe' (Brendan) Jens and 14 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Walter; her daughter, Andrea; two grandchildren, Jessica Mohn Hogendorn and Aaron Mohn; a son-in-law, Tom Mohn; five sisters, Sara Smerud; Rose Mary Intlekofer; Evangeline McKenna; Rita Ann Carroll; and Clara Louise Baal; two brothers, Edmund Smerud and George Smerud.
Funeral arrangements are pending. Memorials may be given in Meg's name to the charity of your choice.