PRATT — Jerry Winston Keene, Jr., 75, passed away Wednesday, August 8,2018 at Via Christi St. Francis in Wichita. He was born December 6, 1942 in Atchison to Jerry Winston, Sr. And Pearlie Dimple (Pearson) Keene. On June 10, 1967, he married Sharon DeAnn (Pillot) Keene at St. Anne Catholic Church in Wichita. She survives.
Jerry graduated from West Platte High School in Weston, Missouri in 1960. He attended William Jewel College in Liberty, Missouri and transferred to St. Benedict’s College in Atchison on scholarship and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Recreation in 1965. He started his career as a teacher and basketball coach at St. Patrick’s Catholic Jr. High School in Chanute.
He then moved to Jefferson City, Missouri to take a job with Snowden Mize Sporting Goods store.
Jerry’s political career began in Missouri in December 1967. He was a graphic artist and worked at the department of Community Affairs, was a cartographer, director of communications and did land use planning. He served as assistant state archivist for the Missouri Secretary of State, was director of planning and building commission for the city of Jefferson City, Missouri and was an assistant Missouri State archivist.
Jerry worked for Litwins Clothing Store as an assistant manager in Chanute and as store manager in Pratt and Wellington. He was purchasing agent and assistant materials manager for Pratt Regional Medical Center.
He worked for Chickaskia, Golden Belt and Indian Hills Regional Planning Commission as weatherization coordinator, eventually became executive director of the commission (12 counties) in Pratt. The commission was later known as Rural Kansas Association of Governments.
Jerry wrote the original housing rehabilitation model used by the Kansas Department of Commerce for the Kansas Community Development Block Grant Program, was a Kansas representative to the National Weatherization Conference in Port- land, Oregon, spoke on housing at the National Association of Regional Planning Commission Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma and lobbied the Kansas Legislature of behalf of rural governments.
He worked for Taylor Engineering in Garden City as a consulting city planner and co-owned ECCO Engineering in Pratt and Durr Engineering in Hutchinson.
Jerry was the Economic Development Director for Scott County and Scott City, worked as a consultant for Gaschler Engineering Company and was demolition coordinator for Missouri River flood cleanup for Platte County, Missouri (North Kansas City).
Jerry held many positions in newspapers across the state. He was the associate editor for the Scott City News Chronicle, a rporter for Atchison Daily Glove and Chanute Tribune. He was marketing manager for Flint Oak Hunting Preserve in Fall River and was the managing editor for Russell Daily News, Russell County News, Anthony Republican, Woodward News, Smith Center News, Barber County Index, Kiowa County Signal. He was also the government reporter for the Pratt Tribune.
Jerry was a member of the Kansas Silver Haired Legislator for Pratt County Board of Directors and on the Board of Directors for Southwest Kansas Area Agency of Aging. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Pratt. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, art, drawing, painting, history and collecting things.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon; son, Shawn (Lajean) Keene of Tonganoxie; daughters, Deidre Hurley of Mt. Vernon, Indiana, Heather (David) Herren of Pratt and Crystal (Mike) Marzolf of Great Bend; and grandchildren, Emmett and Caroline Keene, John, Brian and Tyler Hurley and Katelyn Scherer.
He is preceded in death by his parents.
Cremation has taken place.
Memorial Mass will be at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Sacred Heart Church with Father Michael Klag presiding. The family will receive friends at the church after mass. Graveside service will be scheduled at a later date at Greenlawn Cemetery, Pratt.
Memorials may be made to American Lung Association in care of Larrison Mortuary, 300 Country Club Road, Pratt. Online memorials may be made at www.larrisonmortuary.com.