News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 13, 2012

Virgil Bennett Keen


BRAZIL — It is with heartfelt sorrow that the family of Virgil Bennett Keen shares the news of his sudden passing on Saturday, November 10, 2012. Virgil had an unwavering love and dedication to his wife Ruth and children Debbie and Kevin. He was born April 17, 1933 in Madison, Tennessee, and spent his early childhood growing up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Virgil was the fourth born of five children to Alan and Era Keen.  The family moved north to Indiana in his early adolescent years where he spent the rest of his life.  Virgil was blessed with an innate ability to repair anything mechanical in nature.  This led him to employment as a young man to work at Allis Chalmers, followed by a long career at Allison’s Diesel Transmissions as a skilled tradesman.  He had been a member of the Free & Accepted Masons, Lodge #264 for over 50 years.

He was married to the love of his life, Ruth A. Anderson, on May 12, 1951.  Together they built their own home, raised their children, and enjoyed each other’s companionship during his years after retirement.  Virgil and Ruth loved to go camping at various places throughout the country.  He also had a love for keeping his cars shined and waxed.  He and his wife Ruth have spent the last 61 years together in marriage sharing a life he fought valiantly to maintain.

Virgil was preceded in death by his father and mother Alan and Era Keen, father in law, and mother in law, Grover Cleveland Anderson and Anna Anderson, brother Jim Keen (Eva), two sisters Evelyn Smith and Elizabeth Keen, brothers in law Ray, Rex, and Joe Anderson and two sisters in law, Dora Ellen Anderson and Mildred Pugh (Paul).

Surviving family include his wife Ruth A. Keen, daughter Deborah R. Swearingen both of Brazil, son Kevin D. Keen and wife Becky of Clay City; and a nephew they raised as their own, Charles R. Hendricks and wife Rhea of Florida. Surviving grandchildren include Shelly R. Lambert (significant other Dustin Moore), Brison T. Swearingen and wife Ashley; two step-grandchildren, Tony Jukes and Mahala Burger (Terry). Great-grandchildren who survive are Parker T. Lambert, Deven Burger, Kamyrn Burger, and Brandi Jukes. Other survivors include one brother Charles Keen and wife Jenny; two brothers in law, Jim Anderson and wife Helen and Jake Smith; several nieces and nephews also survive. His loyal and faithful dog "Bud" is also grieving the loss of his best friend and master, Virgil Bennett Keen.

Funeral services will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at French Funeral Home with Rev. William Price officiating. Burial will follow at Calcutta Cemetery.  Visitation will be Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m., with Masonic Services at 7 p.m. Light a candle in his memory at: