George Warner Keyes, LTC (Retired), passed away peacefully Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Peoria, Ariz., at the age of 98.
George was predeceased by his parents, Henry and Julia (Warner) Keyes; his four siblings, Sylvester Keyes, Rosella Cookson, Evelyn O’Brien and Donald Keyes; and his wife, Mary Frances (Power) Keyes.
He is survived by five children - Margaret Keyes, Suzanne Keyes, Franny Keyes, Bill Keyes, and Mary Carr; as well as seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, one nephew, and four nieces.
George was born Sept. 23, 1921, in Ranier, Minn., where he lived until the age of 12. His family subsequently moved to International Falls, Minn., where he spent the remainder of his childhood.
Upon high school graduation, he entered the University of Iowa to pursue his studies in engineering. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army reserves as a private and was called to active duty in 1943. A year later, George was sent to Officer Candidate School and was subsequently commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers. He was then transferred to Ft. Lewis, Wash., to train as a fire fighting detachment commander.
While at Ft. Lewis, he met his soon-to-be wife, Mary Frances (Fran) Power of Tacoma, Wash. In January 1945, George and Fran were married, and shortly thereafter the Army sent him to Europe.
In 1946 George returned to the U.S. and completed his B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1948. In 1950 he was recalled to active duty with the Corps of Engineers and remained so until his retirement from the Army in 1967 as a Lt. Colonel. He served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He completed his M.S. in Civil Engineering in 1956 and attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1962.
Upon retirement, with 20 years of professional engineering experience with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, George joined the management team of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). As the Assistant Director of Engineering, he supported WMATA as they began designing and constructing the Washington, D.C. area subway system. After 10 years with WMATA, he once again retired.
In 1979, George and Fran relocated to Sun City, Ariz., where they happily spent the remainder of their married lives together. While in Sun City, George spent more than 35 years volunteering with the Lions Club and held a variety of offices in that service organization.
George was an exceptionally generous man and an enthusiastic volunteer who devoted his life to serving his country and his communities.
To celebrate his life, Monday, Oct. 28, internment with a flag ceremony and military honors will be held at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.
A memorial mass will follow Tuesday, Oct. 29, at St. Clement of Rome Catholic Church in Sun City.
Family and friends are welcome to attend both events.