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James Allen Kean born in Oberlin, Ohio on February 19, 1949 passed on to his next great adventure on June 26, 2022. He was the 5th of 7 children born into the blended family of Mildred Hess Greiner Kean and James Oscar Kean.
Growing up in the small town of Rochester, Ohio, Jim worked on farms all though his school years beginning at age 6 when he started feeding the pigs at home. By age 8 his big brother Albert brought little Jimmy along on his farm job to feed the pigs there. From then on, every morning before school Jim fed the animals at home and every day after school he went to work at the neighbor’s farm where he milked the cows, fed them, and mucked out their stalls. By the time he was in high school, Jim was helping manage the dairy farm down the road in Rochester.
It was important that the boys work to support their big family. Their dad was mentally ill and would disappear for years at a time when they were young. His mom, Millie, cleaned houses to earn money and it wasn’t enough to feed 7 growing children. Their sister, Miriam, (the only girl) needed medical attention, too. She was born with a heart defect and was one of the first people to have open heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic when she was 5 years old (back in the 1940’s!) It was experimental, historic, and successful as she went on to live a fairly normal life with subsequent open heart surgeries until the age of 40. The people at their Baptist Church also helped the family with donations for her medical care along with food and clothes for all of the children.
Jim graduated from Wellington High School with honors in 1967. It then took him 8 years to graduate from Ohio State with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1975. He’d go to college until the money ran out, then he’d move back home. He pulled double shifts at the Ford factory in Lorain to save up enough money for school and to support his Mom and younger siblings. He loved to talk about driving his Harley home on the country roads at dawn after work at Ford.
With many jobs offers after graduation, Jim decided to take his Chemical Engineering degree into the Oil and Gas Industry. He had an illustrious 42-year career working for national and international oil and gas companies. Jim loved being out “in the field” at the oil and gas plants where the action was. At work, he was happiest building plants and solving problems with the guys in the field. At home, he was happiest spending time with his family, playing with the kids and grandkids, listening to rock ’n roll, and doing outdoor activities: yard work, skiing, golfing, hiking, gardening, and splitting wood.
Jim is survived by his wife, Connie Chadwick Kean; his son Laurence Chadwick “Chad” Kean; his daughter, Victoria “Torre” Kean (Carlos Capistran); and his grandchildren, James Carlos and Luna Teresa Capistran.
Cremation will be accorded. A memorial service to celebrate Jim’s life will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, 2022 at Hinchliff-Pearson-West Funeral Directors and Cremation Services Galesburg Chapel. Rev. Dr. Dennis Johnson will officiate. Music will be provided by Daniel Leahy and Pippi Ardennia. The service will be live-streamed with access available on the funeral home’s website. To continue the celebration of Jim’s life, there will be a luncheon following the service at Soangetaha Country Club. His remains will be interred in Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorial contributions in Jim’s name may be made to Unity of Pompano Beach Spiritual Center at https://unitypompanobeach.org. Online condolences may be left for the family on the funeral home’s website at www.h-p-w.com.