Mary Jane O’Rourke Keene, beloved mother, grandmother, sister, and friend died on Monday, April 25. She was seventy nine.
My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends- It gives a lovely light! 1
And give a lovely light she did. A lover of the arts, nature, an avid reader, always a curious person with a deep respect for education; Mrs. Keene was a creative Master Gardener and accomplished at creating beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces in which to enjoy life with her family and friends. Jane and her husband, Dr. Willis R. Keene, Sr., who died in 2013, moved to Camden County, GA in the 1980’s to enjoy life in a rural setting; sharing a passion for stewardship of the land known as Halifax on the Satilla River, where they made their home.
Jane was born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1936, and grew up in New England, inspiring a lifelong passion for coastal living and the beach. She attended Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in the 1950s. There she worked as a research technician with Ivan Bennett, M.D., Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she met her husband, Willis. In the 1970’s, after raising her family, Mrs. Keene attended University of North Florida earning both a B.A. in Psychology in 1978, and a Master of Health Sciences with highest distinction in 1980. Mrs. Keene practiced as a Clinical Psychologist in Jacksonville, FL for a number of years before retiring.
Mrs. Keene is survived by five children, Lynn Keene of Woodbine, GA; Stephen Keene (Rene’) of Cary, NC; Charles Keene (Chrissy) of Folkston, GA; Willis Keene, Jr. (Sonya) of Woodbine, GA; and Brooks Keene (Shadi) of Savannah, GA. She dearly loved her grandchildren; Dylan, Jane, Darya, and Rory.
A private family ceremony will be held to reflect on a life well-lived. Gestures of remembrance may be made to Hospice of the Golden Isles, 1692 Glynco Parkway, Brunswick, GA 31525.
1 Millay, Edna St. Vincent. “First Fig”
Allison Memorial Chapel and Funeral Home of St. Marys, GA is in charge of arrangements.