James Patrick McKeon
April 15, 1938 – March 9, 2019
James (Jim) Patrick McKeon, 80, of Portland, Oregon, passed away peacefully in the company of his family on Saturday, March 9.
Jim was born April 15, 1938, to Irish immigrant Patrick Joseph McKeon, Sr. and Rita Elizabeth Conway, in Sugar Notch, Pennsylvania. A “neighborhood favorite” as a child, he was the valedictorian of his high school class and a National Merit Scholar. After graduating from Lafayette College with a B.A. in French, Jim served as a medic in the US Army, and subsequently entered the doctoral program in Mathematics at Cal State Long Beach. It was during this time that he was recognized by NASA for his work on the Apollo 11 program and met fellow student Sally Witherite, whom he married in 1967. In 1972, Jim, Sally and their 3 children moved to Portland, OR, where he worked as co-owner of the family’s wholesale bar and restaurant supply business, Houston's, Inc. However, Jim’s greatest professional satisfaction was found during his tenure as Chair of the Math department at La Salle High School from 1992 to 2000. A deeply devout Catholic, Jim was a vital member of the Madeleine Parish for over 40 years.
Jim spoke 4 languages fluently and taught himself Gaelic in his later years. Throughout his life he enjoyed many interests, including opera, classical music, reading, playing the organ, history, science, volkswalks, and politics. As a retiree he volunteered at OMSI and Multnomah Falls, enjoyed frequent visits to the family home on the Oregon Coast, and was an engaged member of the community at Holladay Park Plaza. Jim was much loved and respected by friends, family, colleagues, and students alike for his generosity of spirit, quick wit, and passionate devotion to his family, work, and Faith.
Jim was predeceased by brothers John, Patrick, Robert, and Thomas. He is survived by his wife Sally, sons James McKeon and Mark Witherite, daughter Patricia Witherite (Phil), grandchildren Allison Pennington-Packer (Brett), Brittany Fasulo (Geoff) and Stephen Elliott (Monica); great-grandchildren Lillian, Montana, Maximus, Kai, Killian and Winter; and sister Ann McKeon Koons (Fred).
A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 AM, Wednesday, March 27, at the Madeleine Church, 3123 NE 24th Ave., Portland, OR, with visitation starting at 10 AM. A reception will follow mass in the parish hall. Donations may be made in Jim’s name to the renovation of The Madeleine Old Church via the parish office or online at www.OldChurchProject.com/donate.
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church (The Madeleine)
3123 NE 24th Ave.