John Willis Keene Jr., of Marlborough, MA, died surrounded by family following complications from cancer on February 8, 2021 at the age of 70. John is survived by his large and loving family, which includes: his loving wife Dottie; adored daughter Julia Wilkinson and her husband David, with grandchildren Edward and Andrew; beloved son Charlie Keene and his wife Meg, with grandchildren Lucy and Teddy; devoted sister Katheryn and her children Abigail, Ian, and Skye; devoted sister Abigail and her children Jeremy, Nathan, and predeceased by her son James. He was the son of John Willis Keene Sr. and his wife Abigail. John is also survived by countless friends, neighbors, colleagues, clients, former students, and extended family members.
John was born in Boston in 1951. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy where he wrestled under Ted Seabrooke. He then attended Amherst College and graduated Cum Laude. He also served as president of the Psi Upsilon fraternity. After graduation he worked at IBM, where he met his future wife Dottie. He went on to become a computer consultant and software developer for D.H. Keene Associates, the company Dottie and he formed together. Throughout this work, he developed strong relationships with colleagues all over the country and developed a reputation for crafting creative solutions to information management challenges. In his professional capacities, he delighted in making sure that his clients’ needs were fully met in public sector and non-profit organizations.
John was often a man of few words who preferred to live his values and lead by example. As a wrestling coach at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, he was always the first to arrive and the last to leave. His athletes remember his commitment to making them not just better wrestlers, but better young men. He regularly volunteered to serve food to those in need with the Salvation Army and the Boys & Girls club of Leominster.
One of John’s greatest joys was spending time with his large family, especially playing with his four grandchildren and seeing them learn and grow. He was a fan of watching the Patriots and the Red Sox, and enjoyed cheering and booing at the TV set as appropriate. He enjoyed reading, taking long walks around his retirement community, going on Friday night date dinners with Dottie, and hosting family gatherings for holidays and birthdays. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury and made many lasting relationships there. His innumerable friends will remember him for his dry sense of humor, his unwavering dependability, and his love of having fun in everything he did. He had a big smile and contagious laugh that filled up the room. He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him.
A private ceremony will be held for immediate family. An in-person celebration of life will occur in the future with details to follow at a later time. An online service will be conducted via Zoom on Saturday, February 20th through the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury. It will take place at 1:00 PM and can be accessed from their website, www.pcsudbury.org.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society. You may also go to www.alivingtribute.org to plant a tree in John’s memory.