Montana has lost one of its most cherished colorful characters, a wise, generous, and caring man whose fun-loving good nature and prudent counsel reached far beyond our borders, garnering friends and admirers from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, constantly proving the power of one man's benevolent personality.
Harold Arlo Keene, affectionately known among his many friends as "Wierd Harold," died Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, in Shawmut, Mont. He is mourned by his long-time loving companion, Kimberly Ann Pankratz, of Shawmut.
Harold was born Aug. 19, 1935, the eldest child of Arlo Thompson Keene and Leona Margarette (Bell) Keene in Bozeman, Mont.
A renaissance man and always an enthusiastic outdoorsman, he shared his knowledge and time working with Boy Scouts. Harold became active in Mountain Man Rendezvous reenactments throughout the Rocky Mountain region and extending to the Pacific Coast. His charismatic personality and sage counsel soon gained him a wide-ranging reputation among his buckskinning brethren.
Harold became a resident of Wheatland County, and made his home near Shawmut and enjoyed his life with Kimberly until his passing. Harold was an active member of the American Legion Post #15 and was currently Seargent-at-Arms.
Over the years, Harold had varied occupations including sewing canvas creations. He continued to work part time with the U.S. Forest Service, employing his carpentry skills in restoration projects and trail work.
Harold Keene was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, numerous aunts and uncles, his sister Margarette "Peggy" Lindgren, and his son Grey Keene.
He is survived by: Kimberly Pankratz, P.O. Box 47, Shawmut, Mont.; six siblings: Alan Keene, of Tulsa, Okla.; Leon Keene, of Whitefish, Mont.; Arthur Keene, of Bozeman, Mont.; Avis (Gary) Barnes, of Montrose, Colo.; Sharon Teixeira, of Newark, Calif.; Sheila (George) Keene-Larsen, of Grass Valley, Calif.; children: Shawna (Eric) Donaldson, of Durham, N.C.; Heather (Kevin) Keefe, of Vero Beach, Fla.; Raymona Keene, of Seattle; Sean Keene, of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Melona (Daynen) McCarthy, of Phoenix, Ariz.; adopted children: Irene Torgeson, Stanley Keene, Gilbert Moreno, Sabrina Curtis, Mark Keene, and Paul Keene, a multitude of descendants, and an even greater multitude of good friends.
A celebration of Harold's life: Will be held at the Vets' Club, 19-3rd St. NE, in Harlowton, Mont., on Jan. 14, 2012, starting at 1 p.m.
Memorial service for our friend Wierd Harold Keene: Will be held Aug. 18-19, 2012.
Memorials: If you wish, memorials may be made in his remembrance to: Wheatland Memorial Healthcare or the American Legion Post #15, both located in Harlowton, Mont.
(Perkins Funeral Home, Harlowton)