Tom Clifton Keen, 85, of Tiffin, Ohio, passed away on Monday, April 4, 2022, following a struggle of several years with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and dementia.
Tom was born on October 19, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York, to Forrest M. and Bertha M. (Herzberger) Keen. In 1944, the family moved to Tiffin, where his father had accepted a position as a professor of sociology at Heidelberg College.
Following graduating from Columbian High School, Tom attended Heidelberg, where he met his now deceased wife, Mary B. (Kiss) Keen (2/5/1938-3/17/2020). While Tom finished his undergraduate work, Mary began raising their children. Upon Tom’s graduation, the family moved to Kent, Ohio where he earned an M.A. in Sociology. The next move was to Columbus, Ohio, where Tom pursued his PhD in Philosophy at Ohio State. Tom’s first teaching job was an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Dakota in Brookings, SD. After three years, he was invited to join the faculty at Heidelberg, eventually rising to the rank of full Professor of Philosophy. The return to Tiffin also gave Mary the opportunity to complete her undergraduate work and to earn an M.A. in sociology, leading to her highly successful career as a community health care administrator.
At Heidelberg, Tom developed a reputation as an inspiring teacher. For years after their graduation, many of his former students would stop by to visit. A dedicated scholar and social philosopher, Tom spent much of his lifetime studying the works of Emanuel Kant, Emile Durkheim, and George Herbert Mead. During fall semester’s, however, he could often be found on warm Saturday afternoons listening to broadcast of Ohio State football games while staining cedar shingles or painting trim on his house.
Like his mother and father, Tom was an avid gardener, yearly providing a bountiful supply of greens, peas and beans, and tomatoes and squash for the family’s table. In his later years, he enjoyed listening to a wide range of music, from Mozart to Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers, the latter indicative of his life-long addiction to Western movies. Tom was not a musician, but his mother did manage to teach him a piece he loved, the slow movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” which he performed, with appropriate ceremony, during Thanksgiving dinners at Grandma’s house. He was an outrageous punster, with a sense of humor that Mary frequently described as bizarre, often revealing itself in cartoons he enjoyed drawing. He was also known for his ability to recite excerpts from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the poetry of Robert Service, notably, “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” He would occasionally write a verse himself, often for the family tradition of writing and/or reading poetry on Christmas Eve.
Tom and Mary are survived by children, Mike (Gabrielle Robinson) Keen, Terri (Glenn) Roddy and Robert (Catherine) Keen; grandchildren, Nick, Kristin and Shawn Roddy; great grandchildren, Andrea, Chance and Weston Roddy and Payton Klenke; and sister, Helen Keen MacLam.
A Celebration of Life for Tom and Mary will be held on Sunday, May 15, 2022, from 1-4:00 P.M. at the AmVets Shelter, Tiffin.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Tiffin-Seneca Public Library or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Hoffmann-Gottfried-Mack Funeral Home & Crematory is assisting the family with arrangements.
Condolences may be sent and the guestbook signed at www.hgmackfuneralhome.com.
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