Winton Thomas Keene Jr.
April 23, 1954 – November 23, 2020
SKOWHEGAN – Winton T. “Tom” Keene, Jr., 66, passed away peacefully at Redington-Fairview General Hospital after courageously battling COVID19. Tom was born in Waterville on April 23, 1954 the son of Margaret (Nadeau) and Winton Keene, Sr. Tom began his legendary life as many do. He was an adventurous boy who watched great role models like his own father who was the Fire Chief in Norridgewock for 35 years. As a child, Tom would jump on the back of a fire truck and hitch a ride to a scene just to watch. Tom graduated from Skowhegan Area High School, class of 1972 after three consecutive football seasons making the Class C State Championship and bringing home victory in 1969. He went on to attend Southern Maine Vocational College and received a degree in automotive repair. Tom started working with his father at Keene’s Garage in Norridgewock, and he simultaneously held part time jobs working for Norridgewock Police Department and as an on call EMT and fire fighter. In 1976 a fulltime position opened up at Skowhegan Fire Department, and Tom found his second family. After working his way up through the ranks, Tom was honored to serve the community as chief from 1992 – 2001 and then again from 2008 – 2014. Tom and Sheryl operated T’s N Screens from 2001 – 2007 during his brief retirement.
Tom was proud member and trustee of the Skowhegan-Madison Elks Lodge. Tom was known to “raise the devil” a bit with his trusty trio of companions: Mark “Fraz” Frazier, Kevin Jarvais and Darrin Charrier. Tom also spent some time coaching basketball in his younger years. What started as just lending a helping hand to keep the team going, ended up with Tom coaching Pee-Wee and the travel team with his dear friend, Mike Walker. Tom could also be found in the stands during football games spotting for Mike while he announced the games. Even with such a busy schedule, Tom rarely missed a Red Sox, Patriots or Cowboys game, and his family knew that game time was sacred. Tom was also known for his sarcasm, wit, and as a fierce cornhole competitor.
Of all his accomplishments, Tom was most proud of his family. On July 10, 1993 he married his soul mate, Sheryl (Charrier) and they officially blended together their families. His grandchildren became the lights of his life and his heart grew bigger with each new addition. Tom is survived by his wife of 27 years, Sheryl Keene; children, Matthew Keene and his companion Ariel Morrison, Holly Nichols and her husband Thomas Bradley, Garrett Nichols and his companion Monica-Lynn Brown, and Adam Keene; grandchildren, Dylan, Shania, Levi, Colby, Leah, and Thomas; niece, Teresa Keene; nephew David Woodbury; siblings-in-law, Louis and Sherry Charrier, Annette and Les Flannery and Darrin Charrier; and a large extended family of nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and sister, Rebecca.
Tom was blessed with not one but three families including his Skowhegan Fire Department family and Skowhegan-Madison Elks Lodge family. As quick as Tom was to lend a helping hand, his families were equally quick to support him over the years as he battled diabetes. The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.
Due to COVID19 precautions and restrictions, no formal services will be held at this time. A celebration of Tom’s life and tribute to his service to the community will be in the spring 2021.
Tom’s family extends their most heartfelt gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff at Redington-Fairview General Hospital. Not only did they provide Tom with exceptional care, they compassionately cared for his entire family. Tom’s family also recognizes the many first responders and frontline workers who risk their lives daily to care for people during this pandemic.
Memorial donations may be made in Tom’s honor to the Skowhegan Firefighters Association, Attn: Ty Strout, 16 Highland Ave., Skowhegan, ME 04976.