Florence G. Keenom, 86, of Portland, formerly of Sweet Home, passed away Tuesday. She was born in Kansas City, Missouri to Jesse Augustus and Mary Ethel (Johnson) Barr. At less than two years of age, she moved with her family to San Mateo, California.
In Florence's high school years, she and her family resettled in Sweet Home, Oregon where her father raised registered Polled Hereford Cattle. She spent a few years on the ranch before moving to Portland, Oregon where she became a nurse in the Nurse Cadet Corps. She was working at Emmanuel Hospital in 1945 when she met her soon to be husband, William Earl Keenom. Mr. Keenom moved to the Vancouver, Washington area from Waxahachie, Texas to work as a shipbuilder. Florence and Earl were married in 1946. They adopted four children between 1951 and 1959. The family looked a bit like a United Nations assembly due to the many nationalities represented.
Mr. Keenom, who owned his first dump truck at age thirteen, collected enough excavating equipment to run his own construction company from the fifties through the late sixties. Blindness from diabetes caused him to retire. Florence was his always faithful business partner who handled all the scheduling and raised the four children, who were beset with many health problems. Her nursing background came into play on a regular basis. Throughout all the challenges presented by both the business and her children, she managed the whole situation with a great attitude and often sacrificing her own well being to put husband and children first.
Florence, Earl, and the youngest two children retired to Guadalajara, Mexico where Earl passed away in 1974. Coming from Texas he enjoyed the sunshine of Mexico. There is a plaque made in his honor and placed near where he used to sit and converse with the other residents of the trailer home park where they resided. When he died he was buried in Waxahachie in the Town Hall Cemetery.
Florence then moved with her two children to Santa Barbara where she again worked in the nursing field while putting the children through school. She also did volunteer work for The Salvation Army, an organization whose goals she believed in very much. Her daughter, Sue, went on to work daily in the office of Oregon’s Senator Gordon Smith. After the two youngest children left home, Florence moved back to Vancouver and Portland where she lived until her passing.
She will be missed by many friends and her children who all loved her very much.
Private burial took place at Crawfordsville Union Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of Sweet Home Funeral Chapel.