NORTH JACKSON, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Donald Nelson Keck, 85, ended his “Great Adventure” in the ICU Unit at Mercy Health in Youngstown on Thursday, August 12, 2021, after having suffered a heart attack at home earlier in the week.
He leaves a large family and many great friends who loved him dearly.
He was born on November 23, 1935 in his family home to Lee Nelson Keck and Delores Sophia (Skrobot). Shortly after his birth, they moved to a large property (lovingly referred to as Keckville) where he and his sister, Geraldine Miller, enjoyed all of the benefits of country life, including their father hand-digging a coal mine to support his family during the Depression. With both parents working to make ends meet, Don and Geri learned to be self-sufficient together and have remained close throughout their lives.
He attended Jackson-Milton schools, achieving honors as the Class President and he loved being competitive through football and baseball. He graduated in 1953. Don treasured being a Jackson-Milton Blue Jay and was athletic his entire life. He attended Youngstown College and was a member and officer of the local fraternity Nu Sigma Rho. His frat brothers were some of his closest friends.
His children enjoyed family races that he always won until his son, John, was a teenager and he often entertained his children by doing a standing jump of three feet in the air in their living room.
He worked four jobs hitchhiking daily–delivering newspapers on his bicycle, at Ward’s Bakery in Youngstown, a local concrete pipe fabricating plant at nights through college and at USS Steel Ohio Works–all before his early 20s.
He married Dorothy Lynne (Cockerell) in June 1958 and they immediately started their family.
In 1961, he was hired as an estimator at Roofing & Sheet Metal, 18 Hogue Street, Youngstown, Ohio. He worked his way up to become the owner of then re-named Reliable Source of Metalwork (RSM). He was proud of their craftsmanship and had a great deal of respect and admiration for his employees from the Sheet Metal Workers International Association. They were a part of his family.
He was a member of the Rotary Club of Youngstown, President of the Jackson-Milton Board of Education and a founding member of the Jackson-Milton Foundation where he worked tirelessly for the betterment of our community.
Don was a dynamic, gregarious and loving person. He lived and enjoyed life to the fullest and never met a stranger, always making new friends in his travels. He was proud of his family, work and his community. He enjoyed each life experience to the fullest and often said, “Life is for the living.” In fact, he had so many ‘Don Keck-isms’ that his children often numbered them to keep track.
He was an incredible father to his children, John, Rebecca, Matthew (Kimberley) and Melissa El-Joubeily (Dean); grandfather to Lee (Alaina), Adam (Sarah Braun), Caitlin Stathopoulos (Nick), Luke, Miranda, Kharieh El-Joubeily, Sarina El-Joubeily and Samir El-Joubeily and great-grandfather to John, Henry, Charles, Harlow and Alexander, with Ellie (Stathopoulos) on her way.
He was loved and respected by all and was a helpful person that would do anything for his friends and family. He lived for time with his family, attending sporting and life events of his children and all of his grandchildren.
Don moved to Laurel, Mississippi to be with his fiancée, Nevelita Tiu Walker “Tata” which he referred to as his “seven-year vacation.” He and Tata enjoyed their southern life with many friends and what seemed at times, parties every day. We know they are currently dressed to the nines—dancing the night away together. When Tata passed, he returned to live with Rebecca in Keckville and enjoyed life between there and Toledo. His family is grateful to have him home as they shared daily and special moments for the past ten months. He lived and loved every moment of life.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his wives, Dorothy and Jan (Jacobs) whom he was married to briefly.
Along with his children and grandchildren, he is survived by his sister, Geraldine Miller (Royce); niece, Pamela Miller (Alberto)’ sister-in-law, Barbara Cockerell Grimm; nephew, Brian Grimm and niece, Andrea Grimm.
Don’s family would like to thank the Mercy Health Critical Care Department and the ICU Unit personnel for their care to him and his family at the most difficult time.
Gifts in his memory can be made to SMARTS, Students Motivated by the Arts, Ohio One, 25 E. Boardman Street, Youngstown, OH 44503.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Don at Modern Methods Brewing Company, 125 David Grohl Alley Warren, OH 44481, on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Arrangements by Cremation & Funeral Service by Gary S. Silvat, Inc. Share memories and send condolences by visiting cremateohio.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald Nelson Keck, please visit our floral store.
A television tribute will air Thursday, August 19 at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV.