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A Man Ahead of His Time
WINDHAM -- George A. Keef was born in the Canadian border town of Vanceboro, on Aug. 12, 1922, to Arthur I. Keef and Marion Dodge Keef. He passed on March 21, 2011, surrounded by family members who have greatly cherished being a part of this outstanding man's life.
George joined the Marine Corps after completing two years at Ricker Junior College and was stationed in North Carolina. He was trained as an aerial photographer and served in Guam. George married his sweetheart, Jean Donahue, in 1944. After the war, they moved to South Portland where he worked in real estate and for Sears Roebuck's photography department. The couple moved to North Windham after purchasing a poultry farm.
George became active in the community, became a selectman, served as a volunteer fireman and was a member of the Kiwanis Club. He joined the Masons and the North Windham Union Church where he served as deacon.
George had an entrepreneurial spirit and started several businesses, including a partnership in the Sebago Basin Tenting Area in North Windham, Rental Hardware in Westbrook, and independently founded the original Frost and Flame store in North Windham.
He worked as a Surge Dairy Equipment representative visiting farms in Maine and New Hampshire for five years, followed by 15 years as a shift supervisor with Fairchild Semiconductor in South Portland.
In 1963-64 the Keef family hosted an AFS exchange student from Norway, Inger Myrstad (Riley), who on a trip to Maine to attend her host sister's wedding, met and married an American, moved to the U.S. She and her family have remained an integral part of the Keefs. George and wife, Jean, made two trips to Norway, which were highlights of their lives.
George designed and built two homes; a solar home in Windham and a weekend home in Eustis that became a getaway for fishing, hunting and cross country skiing. For the past 25 years the couple enjoyed wintering in Florida where they made many friends through their various activities.
He was an avid environmentalist, gardener and arborist and planted at least 36 different varieties of trees on his property. He was a woodcarver and created many artistic objects for his family and friends. He was especially fascinated with Haida art from the tribe of the First Nation of Canada and loved collecting Maine Indian relics. He was a history buff and avid reader. His story telling abilities reflected his vast knowledge of the past and the world around him. The tales were always told with his dry sense of humor that never failed to amuse.
He was closely connected to all of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many dozens of others since he took an interest in each one of them, and will be greatly missed by all.
George is survived by his wife, Jean; and the couples six children, daughters Martha Strout (Ronald), Nahant, Mass., and Karen Lothrop (Tom), Longwood, Fla., and four sons living in Maine, Daniel (Debora Tancrel), Casco, Edward (Sherry Sawyer), Otisfield, William, Gorham, and David (Johanna Moore), Farmingdale. They also have 13 grandchildren, Aaron Strout (Melanie), Austin, Texas, John Strout (Larrissa), Silver Spring, Md., Heather Strout (Lee Baker), Austin Texas, James Lothrop (Suzanne), Philadelphia, Pa., Stephen Lothrop (Nadine), Columbus, Ohio, Michael Lothrop (Gabriela), Orlando, Fla., Sara Keef, Worcester, Mass., Chris Keef (Angela), Concord, N.H., Thomas Keef (Sandi), Westbrook, Sanmukh Jain (Amanda Keef), Austin, Texas, Travis Keef (Kate), Gorham, Emily Keef (Matt Olson), Standish and Jennifer Keef, Standish. They also have 18 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Windham Hill United Church of Christ, 140 Windham Center Rd., at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 27. Arrangements are by the Dolby Funeral Chapel. Online condolences may be made to www.dolbyfuneralchapels.com.
Donations may be made to:
Gosnell Memorial Hospice House
11 Hunnewell Rd.
Scarborough, Maine 04074
or via http://www.hospiceof
Dolby Funeral Chapel
434 River Road
Windham, ME 04062
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Mar. 24, 2011