James Louis Keaton, 77, passed away Saturday, December 30, 2023, at KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas while surrounded by his loved ones. He was born August 24, 1946 to Charles and Rachel (Domann) Keaton in Leavenworth, KS. Jim graduated from Ward High School in 1964. He loved sharing stories about his time on the basketball team as well as performing in the school play, “Brigadoon”. We always loved how he would belt out “Go Home to Bonnie Jean” to prove his musical “talent”. Jim continued to pursue his love of basketball by playing at Kansas City Kansas Community College before transferring to Emporia State University, where he earned a degree in Education. He furthered his education at UMKC and earned an MBA. Jim served in the Vietnam War for the U.S. Army as a member of the military police. He continued with the Army Reserves, until his military retirement in 2006, ultimately achieving the rank of Master Sergeant. Despite the fact that most, if not all, of his later medical struggles were likely attributed to his time in Vietnam, he remained incredibly proud that he had the honor of serving his country. He married Pamela Litsis on June 11, 1972. She was his adoring wife for 51 years. He cherished her and their two daughters, Allyson and Alenna. To “his girls”, he was their hero, in more ways than one. Jim spent the majority of his professional life in Human Resources. The career was perfect for his kind, fair, honest, trustworthy demeanor. He retired as a Human Resources director at Allied National in March 2023.
Jim was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, uncle, brother, and friend. “God broke the mold after He made Jim Keaton” – is often quoted by his family. He was funny, and fun-loving. Jim was never afraid to be goofy and dress up in costumes to amaze his grandchildren. He loved God, washing his car, working in the yard, BBQ, and late night ice cream (especially banana splits). He also loved the Kansas Jayhawks, particularly KU basketball. He loved his family deeply and they loved him even more. As a true Christian patriarch, he was always one who could offer sound advice. Not only did Jim adore his family, but he treasured all his furry family members as well. He definitely was their person.
To describe Jim’s character in a way that will truly do him justice is an impossible task. He was a soft spoken, gentle soul who took care of family, neighbors and friends. He was beyond kind, loving, compassionate, thoughtful, generous, and selfless. Words alone will never be able to convey the level to which he was all those things. Jim loved to stay busy and was very much the type of person who was always quietly serving others with no expectation of acknowledgement or reward. One could say he spoiled everyone he loved. His generosity and compassion knew no limits whether it was snow blowing neighbors’ driveways or buying lunch for the next guy in line. To know Jim is to love him. We will love him forever and will strive to continue his legacy…because Lord knows, the world would be a much better place if only there were more people like Jim Keaton.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife; daughters Allyson (Allen) Evans, Alenna (Kevin) Grund; grandchildren Alex, Andrew and Ava Evans, George and Lily Grund, sister Jackie Marlar, brother Dean (Judy) Keaton, and sister Jeannene (George) Rider along with several nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday, Jan 8th at 10:30am at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 13615 W 92nd St, Lenexa, KS 66215. A visitation will begin prior to mass at 9:30am. Burial at Mt. Moriah cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, tribute gifts may be made to the American Lung Association.