Sara Magdalene Keener

September 10, 1918November 26, 2018

Sara Magdalene Keener, “Jo” as her husband L.C. Keener, Jr. nicknamed her, celebrated her 100th birthday before going home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on November 26. She was preceded in death by nine of her siblings; all except her youngest sister, Shirley Shaw. Magdalene was born in Mt Mourne, North Carolina, the fifth of eleven children born to Willie Hall Keistler and Fannie Lee Caldwell Keistler.

She attended Hoskins School in Mecklenburg County after the family moved to Hoskins when she was a baby. A graduate of Paw Creek High School, Magdalene was captain of the girls’ basketball team and later a beauty queen runner-up to Miss Charlotte. She became an avid tennis player and tennis fan later in life. She loved gardening, crafts, traveling and shopping.

Magdalene married the love of her life, Lawrence Cecil Keener, Jr., after high school, and after the war they settled in Oakdale on a little farm and were active in the community for many years. Magdalene had many friends and was active in her church and in the Oakdale Home Extension Club. Her greatest accolade was she was a faithful, devoted wife for 58 years, a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

Magdalene was a giving person and a forgiving person. Her loving, gracious attitude overcame her limitations the last six and a half years of her life when she was confined to a wheel chair as a resident at Olde Knox Commons Nursing Home in Huntersville, North Carolina. She blessed the staff and other residents with her signature greeting “I love everybody.” Her physical confines and effects of a stroke never dampened her spirit or hampered her love for family and others. She was also very compassionate, putting others before herself.

Magdalene was a faithful member of Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church and is survived by three children: Candace Thompson of Canon City, Colorado; Steve Keener of Charlotte; and Phil Keener of Chapin, South Carolina. She is also survived by seven grandchildren: Martin Welch, Steven Keener, Jennifer Engberson, Brandon Keener, Clinton Keener, Caroline Fogle and Melissa Hudson, as well as nine great grandchildren.

Siblings who preceded her in death are Thelma Mulligan, Frank Keistler, Carlyle “Crip” Keistler, Majorie McCall, Willie Hall “Dub” Keistler, baby Ray Keistler, Ralph Keistler, Jack Keistler, and Betty Weaver.

Services to celebrate her long and blessed life will be held on Thursday, November 29, at Forest Lawn West at 4601 Freedom Drive, Charlotte, N.C. with a viewing at 1 p.m., a celebration service at 2 p.m., and a grave-side service at 3 p.m.


  • Visitation Thursday, November 29, 2018
  • Funeral Service Thursday, November 29, 2018
  • Burial Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sara Magdalene Keener

have a memory or condolence to add?

Martin C Welch

November 27, 2018

She was defined by love- love for God, for Jesus- for all her family- lifelong friends- even love for those who hurt her or those she barely knew. Love was who she was.

She loved her home- her plants- her pets. Everything shone and grew to absurd, unbelievable proportions- everything she touched came alive.

She was not intellectual or deep in her thoughts- no crippling darkness- no cynicism stained her. She was happy.

There were things she disliked- things that hurt- but her great heart- inured to hate- was hungry to forgive.

She was not political- didn’t argue or debate- and was under no compulsion to force her opinions. Her beliefs were so ingrained and secure that to express them verbally would be redundant. She was all that she wanted to be and that was enough.

She had no ambitions- no agenda- never wanted or needed anything from anyone. She didn’t think she was indispensable or even important- but she was the indispensable piece of our family’s golden age;

Bright days slightly out of focus- sparkling sun-drenched days of smiles and high-pitched laughter
Bumble bees, cut grass, and impossibly ripe red tomatoes
White laundry posing shamelessly on the line and heavy muscadine vines hanging to the ground
Unconscious days we all took for granted

Her life was of the most uncomplicated sort- to love and be loved- to be happy- to live all she could- and she lived and loved more than us all.