Dr. Ireatess Claydean “Doc” Keeney, age 90, passed away Saturday, May 13, 2017, in his home in Houston, Mo., surrounded by family and friends. He was born June 30, 1926 in Houston, Mo. to Charles Earnest Keeney and Anna May Cox Keeney. He attended grade school in Houston and high school in Licking. A young man of humble means, upon graduation he spent two years working on his family’s farm striving to earn enough money for college.
His first semester of higher education was spent attending the Rolla School of Mines before making the certain decision to pursue an agricultural degree from the University of Missouri. This key decision proved critical in enabling him to have a career in the area he loved and had called home his entire life. Upon attaining a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, he was then accepted into the Veterinary Medicine program, graduating with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1954 – the 2nd graduating class for this burgeoning program.
Noted for his tireless work ethic, it should come as no surprise that he would meet his lifelong love, Margaret Lou Apperson, a woman of virtue and high merit, while on call at the Kraft Food Company Milk Receiving Plant in Houston where she worked. That day started their life story together. They were wed on October 21, 1955 on Bryan Street in Houston where they also resided for 47 years as well as using the location as a veterinary clinic for several years. With a subtlety of humor that requires an active ear, the story of their original wedding date being postponed from October 20 due to the local “feeder pig” sale is one of many his family cherishes.
Ireatess was also a man committed to values and to serving those around him. He was member of the Church of Christ Temple Lot for 76 years. He was also an original member of the Texas County Farm Bureau, Texas County Extension Service, Landmark Bank Board, Texas County Cattlemen Association and a long-time supporter of Hospice of Care. He volunteered at the Missouri Cattlemen’s booth at the Missouri State Fair for decades, as well as supporting FFA, Farm Fest, Texas County Fair Livestock and the Texas County Animal Shelter.
His occupation allowed him to come into contact with many good people, 2 of which worked side by side with him daily for decades. In the Veterinary practice, Hazel Miles worked as his office manager along with many other duties and was considered a part of the Keeney family and lovingly known to the children and grandchildren as “Aunt Hazel”.
In addition to working as a veterinarian, he also owned a large beef cattle operation which he started in 1960, In 1966, he was joined by Lloyd Brown as the farm manager who not only ran the operation as if it were his own, but became one of Ireatess’ best and most trusted lifelong friends, managing the operation for over 40 years.
In 2010, Ireatess sold the veterinary clinic and retired, but kept his license current in order to provide veterinary services for Texas County Animal Shelter and many others after his retirement. Upon retirement, he immediately started working with his grandson, daughter and son-in-law at their local business and as was his character, he rarely missed a full day of work. He also spent that time traveling the world with his wife, Margaret, as well as gardening, feeding his catfish, turkey hunting and fishing. He loved to share the produce he harvested from his garden with friends and neighbors.
Ireatess’ life was one of contentment and happiness. He never wished for anything and was thankful for what he did have. He is an American success story of a man from humble means who never strayed from his values despite his overwhelming achievements and would have been chagrined to have been called such. He once stated “I wouldn’t change a thing; I have done what I wanted to with my life.”
He is survived by his wife, Margaret Keeney; his children: David Keeney and wife Carol of Houston, Mo., Douglas Keeney of Springfield, Mo., Diane Pierce and husband Stephen of Houston, Mo.; as well as his grandchildren: Austin Keeney, Erica Keeney, Jacob Keeney, Kirk Pierce, Megan Farris and husband Josh, Sarah Rees and husband Elgin. He is also survived by his sisters, Mary Jane Medders of Republic, Mo. and Florence Marie Kommer of Independence, Mo.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Alzada Massey.
The impact of his life will be felt by generations to come.
The family respectfully suggests donations be made in his memory to the Missouri Sate Veterinary Medical Foundation, in lieu of floral arrangements. To send an online condolence to the family, go to www.evansfh.com.
Services are Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 3 p.m. at Houston First Baptist Church with Elder Roger Bruner officiating. Burial is in Pine Lawn Cemetery under the direction of Evans Funeral Home. Pallbearers are: Kirk Pierce, Jacob Keeney, Austin Keeney, Josh Farris, Elgin Rees and Drake Bell. Honorary Pallbearer is Lloyd Brown.