Jeanette Ida Love Keays
Dec. 1, 1914-May 14, 2014
Jeanette Ida Love Keays was born in Big Lake, Minnesota, Dec. 1, 1914. She departed this realm for the next in the early hours of Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
Jeanette was the only child of Ethel and Charlie Love. Her father’s employment with the Northern Pacific Railroad took the family from Big Lake to North Dakota and finally to Missoula, Montana,, where Jeanette was raised and attended Missoula County High School and the University of Montana, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority.
Her mother and numerous teachers nurtured Jeanette’s early love of reading, and it sustained her through many phases of her long life. She loved a good mystery but read widely and voraciously, including her favorite New Yorker magazine. She was a crochet pro and wrote clever poetry, always with a sharp punch line. She treasured the chances she had to travel to Europe and China, and her home always reflected her love of Asian art and style.
In 1936 she married George Westler in Missoula and moved to Portland, where he attended dental school and she worked at J.C. Penney Company. Eventually, they moved back to Montana, where Dr. Westler practiced dentistry in Great Falls as they welcomed two daughters. The couple divorced in 1955, and Jeanette and her daughters moved to Missoula, where she worked as a Welcome Wagon hostess. One of her fellow hostesses introduced Jeanette to her brother, Vernon Keays, also recently divorced, and their romance was launched. They were married in Missoula on May 23, 1957.
They continued to live in Missoula, where Vernon was a housing contractor best known for his development on Martha’s Court. Jeanette’s working life continued as well, with many years spent in retail sales of gifts, fabric, bridal wear, and women’s clothing, where her keen fashion sense was a tremendous asset.
For two years after their retirement, the Keayses lived in Honolulu, managing a large condominium building, but gave up the tropical life to return to Missoula and concentrate on their love of trailer camping. On one expedition to Southern California they discovered Fallbrook and moved there in 1976, where they lived until moving to Brookings in 1993. Vernon died in Brookings in 2001.
Jeanette lived the remaining years of her life at the Chetco Inn in Brookings with her beautiful feline companion, Boo, who stayed by her side as long as she was able, until January of this year. At the Inn, Jeanette was lovingly cared for by a series of devotedly kind members of the staff. The Chetco Inn will celebrate its birthday next year, but Jeanette was fond of pointing out that she was older than the Inn itself.
Jeanette was a member of the American Association of University Women, an active member of PTA and a Girl Scout leader as a young mother. In Brookings, she served as a volunteer with the Chetco Community Public Library program to deliver books to shut-ins and at the South Coast Humane Society thrift store. In 1954, Jeanette was first initiated into the P.E.O. International Education Organization. She was a member of chapters in Montana, California and Oregon and valued the organization itself and the lasting friendships she made within it. The members of the Brookings chapter of P.E.O. were especially supportive and kind. She valued their friendships and looked forward to their visits, especially as she became housebound.
She is survived by her Chetco Inn family as well as her daughters Susan Anderson (Brooks) of Crescent City and Deborah Westler (Nana Corfield) of Woodbridge, California, her grandchildren, Erica Silver (Brett) and Bryant Anderson (Tanya) of Crescent City and her three great-grandsons, Walker, Elihu, and Finch. Also surviving are Jeanette’s stepdaughter Priscilla Doshier of Riverside, California; sister-in-law Hazel Helms of Sandpoint, Idaho, and nieces and nephews in Montana, Idaho, and Brookings.
A celebration of Jeanette’s life will be held at the Chetco Inn, 417 Fern Street in Brookings, at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 30. Please make any memorial gifts to the South Coast Humane Society or to the Friends of the Chetco Community Public Library.
Submitted by family.