Leona Mae Keener went to be with her Savior on Sunday, January 1, 2023. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, January 7, 2023, at Mitchell Berean Church with Pastor Jon Simpson officiating. A private family burial will happen at a separate time at Fairview Cemetery. Cremation has taken place in accordance with Leona’s wishes. The family requests in lieu of flowers, that a donation be given to a charity of the donor’s choice. The service will be livestreamed and recorded to Leona’s obituary page viewable at www.reverencefuneralparlor.com.
Leona was born on December 28, 1934, to Kenneth and Ferris (Martin) Schultz. She grew up in Mitchell, Nebraska, graduating from Mitchell High School in 1952. She received her teaching certificate and began her teaching career at Cedar Canyon, south of Gering.
She married Harold Keener on June 11, 1953, and moved to the homestead in Sioux County. She soon learned “country life,” moving to an old house with no running water or electricity. She never gave up and soon became the “hired” help. She once said she wouldn’t have lasted if it wasn’t for JC and Marie McKnight looking after her while Harold worked in town. During this time, two children were born, Ken and Beth. Her father-in-law decided she needed a few extra amenities, and Harold and Leona moved to the home place. It was there that two more children, Sue and David, were born.
Not long after, Leona went back to teaching to make ends meet. She would continue to teach at the Wilke School, Eagle Rock School, where she taught all four of her children, the Pink School House, where she met her dear friend Angeline Morava, and the Harrison Grade School. She finally received her bachelor’s degree in education in 1973, the same year her oldest son, Ken, graduated from high school. She then moved back to the ranch, taught at the Buckley School, and later was a substitute at other schools. She was a cherished and dedicated teacher for over 30 years.
She could be found out hoeing beans, driving trucks, irrigating, and helping put up the hay during the summer. Leona was glad when the kids were finally old enough to take over so she could do the cooking and gardening.
When the kids started in 4-H, FFA, and other activities, she was on the sidelines cheering for them. She would later do the same for the grandkids, and later the great grandkids. She never missed a show or event.
Leona loved the springtime when the cows would start to calve and the fall when the crops would start to come in. Her most favorite time though was Christmas time. Santa would arrive on cue to the music she played on the piano. This was also the time to dust off the cobwebs and get serious about cards. She was a card shark!!
Leona served on the FSA committee and the Sioux County Board of Education after retiring from teaching. She was also an active member of the Harrison Bible Church, the Sioux County Historical Society, and the Sioux County Cowbelles.
Survivors include her sons, Ken (Linda) Keener and David (Kris) Keener; daughters, Beth Keener and Sue Keener; grandchildren, Becky (Andy) Swisher, Bob (Melissa Lashley) Cover, Josh (Kayla) Swalve, Amanda (Craig) Aker, Bobbi Jean (Justin) Hafer, Joe (Janae) Keener, Ali (Brock) Houston, and Michelle (Ty) Goossen; sixteen great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; brother, Jim; and brother-in-law, John Kreman; along with numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Preceding her in death were her husband of 47 years; her parents; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Vernon Sr. and Elizabeth Keener; brother, Lester (Wanda); brother-in-law, Vernon Jr. (Audrey); sisters-in-law, Virginia (Irvin) Norine and Betty Jo Kreman; and her dear friend, Angeline Morava.
The family would like to thank the staff at Heritage Estates for all their tender care and love for our Mom.