Barbara J. Keene

Obituary of Barbara P. J. Keene

Thurman: Barbara P. J. Keene, 90, of South Johnsburg Road, passed away peacefully on August 3, 2019 following a long illness. For the past 3 years, Barbara had been a resident of The Pines nursing facility in Glens Falls, New York, where she was showered with kindness and attention from her family and caregivers. She was famous for her tales of her childhood in England. Barbara Primrose Joy Blackburn was born in Chelmsford, England, a suburb of London on April 19, 1929 to Philip J. and Eunice M. Blackburn. She had 3 siblings, Elizabeth, Walter, and Valerie. Her father was an administrator in the local livestock market after serving in the navy and infantry during the First World War and her mother was a homemaker in addition to working outside her home in various positions. Barbara excelled in school and was pursuing a nursing career, but her plans were cut short by World War II when her family moved to rural Gloucestershire for safety’s sake. There, she met her future husband, George O. Keene, a US Army staff sergeant from Warrensburg, NY. Following the war, when she was 18, Barbara and George were married and moved to Thurman in the Adirondacks. The story of their wartime courtship is beautifully told in the book We Were There by Daniel Way, MD her longtime family doctor. Even though not native to this country, Barbara considered herself an “Adirondack” woman, and had a particular interest in Native American culture. Barbara and George settled in Thurman, first on a primitive homestead and then in the village of Kenyontown. In addition to raising her family Barbara helped care for her neighbors, was a dispatcher for the Thurman Volunteer Fire Company and member of the Auxiliary, served on the local election board and was a correspondent for the Warrensburg News. She attended both the Thurman Baptist and Kenyontown Methodist churches. All her children went on to be first generation college students, with well-established careers. During their retirement years, Barbara and George camped and traveled, including several trips “across the pond” to visit friends and family. Predeceased by her husband George, in August of 2005, Barbara leaves behind her six children Sally (Melvin Peter) Holmes, Frances (Terry) Rooks, John (Jocelyn) Keene, Karen (Raymond) Putney, Paul (Sue) Keene & Lenora (Marc) Merkle), eleven grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their offspring in Great Britain, Australia and the United States. At her request, there will be no calling hours. A memorial service will be held in the fall, and she will be buried privately with her husband in Reynolds Cemetery, Thurman. Barbara’s family would like to thank the many people who helped care for her during her final years including Dr. Daniel Way, Ms. Stephanie Wood, John Schroeder, Laura Cameron, Reverend David Newkirk, the staff at Hudson Headwaters, Glens Falls Hospital and the many caring staff at the Pines (too numerous to list). Please visit for online guest book and condolences.
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