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3701 East 7th Street
Joplin, MO 64801
Phone: (417) 781-1711
Fax: (417)-781-3916
About An Amazing Life|Help

Kenneth Ray

June 16, 1935 – October 17, 2018

Kenneth Keely
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"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— Mason - Woodard Mortuary & Crematory
"The best smile. The best laugh. The ever-present twinkle in his eye. This is what I’ll always remember about my Uncle Kenny. Love..."
— Vicki Schmitt
"Ken was a great man & a fighter to the end. Bless him."
— The Duffin Family

Obituary for Kenneth Ray Keely

Kenneth “Kenny” Ray Keely, age 83 of Joplin, Mo., passed away on Tuesday, October 17, 2018 following an illness.

Kenneth was born June 16, 1935 east of Rock, Ks., in Cowley County to Walter S. Keely and Ruby (Prigmore) Keely. Kenny graduated from Winfield High School in 1953. He served in the U.S. Army, stationed in the de-militarized zone in Korea from 1954-56.

In August of 1958, Kenny married Retha Jimeson at the Mulvane, Kansas, Church of Christ. Kenny worked for Boeing Aircraft, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, owned the Sears Catalog Store in Columbus for 15 years and was a rural letter carrier out of the Columbus, Ks. Post Office for 30 years, retiring in 2001. While an active carrier, Kenny joined the Kansas Rural Letter Carrier Association in 1972 and through the years held several positions on the Southeast District and State Boards, serving as 2nd District President, Kansas State Vice President and as the Kansas State President. He received the KRLCA Carrier of the Year award in 1986. In 2002, Kenny developed the State position of Historian and over the next ten years diligently worked to put together a wonderful collection of memorabilia that is now on display at the Salina, Ks. Museum.

Kenny served as a volunteer for the Columbus Fire Department for 10 years, was a member of the Columbus Tree Board, and enjoyed a position as a Silver-haired Legislator for the Southeast Kansas Area Agency on Aging. Many will remember that Kenny enjoyed an unusual hobby of rattlesnake hunting and attended the Sweetwater, Tx rattlesnake roundup for several years. During one of his annual hunts, Kenny won the distinction of catching the largest rattlesnake on record and for many years this snake was on display at the Sweetwater Dairy Queen. One of Kenny’s greatest joys in the later years was becoming a member of the Keenager’s singing group at Riverton, Ks. He sang with the group for almost ten years. He was a member of the Newman Road Church of Christ in Joplin, Mo.

Kenny is survived by his wife, Retha Keely of the home; son, Kyle Keely of Columbus, Ks.; daughters, Kelly (Pat) York of McCune, Ks., Dedra (Ken) Chapman of Orlando, Fl.; grandchildren, Kraig (Amanda) Keely of Miami, Ok., Blake Chapman of Daytona Beach, Fl., Valerie (Dylan) Moyer of Erie, Ks., Keely (Zach) Palmer of Rogersville, Al., Devon (Steven) Brynds of Pittsburg, Ks.; great-grandsons, Gaiton Keely and Phoenix-Grayson Keely of Miami, Ok.; great-granddaughter Joella Zay Moyer of Erie, Ks.

Kenny is also survived by siblings, Carol Hrabik of Montclair, Ca., Paul (Ike) Keely of Wichita, Ks., Marilyn (Art) Schmitt of Columbus, Ks., Keith (Mary) Keely of Valley Center, Ks., Dan Keely of Shell Knob, Mo.; numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.

Kenny was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Ruby Louise Wells, Lois Holt, Patricia Harding and Walter Keely.

Funeral services have been scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Mason-Woodard Chapel. Ken Chapman, will officiate. Burial will follow at Columbus Cemetery in Columbus, Ks. The family will receive friends prior to the service beginning at 12:00 p.m. Saturday.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or Hospice Compassus of Southeast Kansas.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Mason-Woodard Mortuary & Crematory.

To send flowers to the family of Kenneth Ray Keely, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.


When Saturday, October 20th, 2018 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Mason-Woodard Mortuary
3701 E. 7th Street
Joplin, Missouri 64801

Service Information

Saturday, October 20th, 2018 1:00pm
Mason-Woodard Mortuary
3701 E. 7th Street
Joplin, Missouri 64801

Interment Information

Columbus Cemetery
SE Wyandotte Rd.
Columbus, Kansas