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Keegan,James W. 1868-1937 and Kathryn O'Meara Family


Posted By: Wilma J. Vande Berg - volunteer (email)
Date: 3/11/2022 at 18:10:40

Keegan, James W. 1868-1937 and Kathryn O’Meara Family

This story was taken from pages 105-107 of the Rock Valley St. Mary’s Catholic Church Book written for the centennial of the church in about 1982(?). The story was transcribed for this BIOS by Beth De Leeuw of the Greater Sioux County Genealogical Society. Some research notes were added by Wilma J. Vande Berg.

JAMES W., son of James Sr. and Catherine, married KATHRYN O’MEARA. She was born in Petersville, but as a young girl was orphaned and had spent her young years living in Canada with relatives. She moved to Alvord in 1894 and married James W. Keegan on November 16, 1897. To this union were born eight children: Florence, Percy, Clarence, Irma, Clement, Arlene, Kathryn (see Paul Heffernan), and Margaret (see Joe Haas).

1. FLORENCE was born on April 8, 1899. She attended Mt. St. Clara Academy and then taught in rural schools. Later she graduated from St. Anthony’s Hospital School of Nursing in Denver, Colorado. She graduated from St. Scolastica College at Atchison, Kansas and then taught in nursing schools in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. She retired in 1962. She later returned to Rock Valley where she passed away on April 23, 1974 and is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

2. PERCY was born in April of 1900. He married Cecilia Whalen of Larchwood. They have one daughter who lives in San Francisco and has three children. Percy and his wife live in Sioux Falls now.

3. CLARENCE J. was born on December 14, 1901 on a farm near Rock Valley. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1921. As a young man he followed the wheat harvest for three seasons, as it traveled from Kansas to Canada.

Elvira Schemmer Keegan was born in Rock Valley on March 30, 1904. She graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1922, and later taught a rural school in Plymouth County.

Clarence and Elvira were married at St. Mary’s on February 8, 1928. They farmed in the Inwood and Rock Valley areas, moving to Rock Valley in September of 1967. At that time Clarence continued working, at the local golf course for five years. Elvira died on May 22, 1981. Their children were: Mary Ellen, Robert, Jane (see Robert Richter), Helen, Doris, James and Michael.

Mary Ellen is presently teaching fifth grade in the LeMars Community Schools. She graduated from Colorado State after attending high school in Rock Valley.

Robert served in the Navy for three years. After that he farmed in the Rock Valley area for three years. He then went to work for National Cash Register in Davenport, Iowa. He married Joyce Burzlaff on February 8, 1975 and they reside in Davenport.

Helen was born in Rock Valley and attended school there. In 1958, she graduated from St. Joseph’s Mercy School of Nursing in Sioux City and continued working at the hospital there.

In November of 1959, she married James Huffington of Madison, Missouri. Jim works at the DuPont Company at Moberly, Missouri and Helen continues nursing at the Moberly Regional Hospital.

They have six children: Theresa 20, Michael 18, Patricia 17, Christine 15, Daniel 13, and Thomas 11.

Doris was born on October 5, 1942. She was baptized at St. Mary’s and graduated from Briar Cliff College in 1964. On November 27, 1964, she married John Judson Kersbergen, born October 17, 1943. He was baptized into St. Mary’s in the fall of 1964. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1968 as a pharmacist. They are currently living at Beaufort, South Carolina where John is a pharmacist with the U.S. Navy. Their “home,” in addition to Rock Valley, is Ithaca, Michigan where they operate a drug store in partnership with John’s nephew, Mike, and Karen Intveld.

Their children are: David John, born October 28, 1965, Sonja Jeanne, born May 26, 1967, Laura Elizabeth, born April 20, 1977 and Katherine Suzanne, born August 10, 1979.

James attended the Rock Valley Schools and is a 1969 graduate of Kansas State University of Manhattan, Kansas. He served with the U.S. army in Vietnam from 1971-1972. He is an administrative officer for the U.S. Military in Washington, D.C. He has had numerous overseas assignments with the American Embassies in Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Germany. At present he and his family are living at Fairfax, VA while he continues work with the State Department.

He is married to the former Patricia Riordan of Oakton, VA. They have two children, a son, Michael, age seven and a five year old daughter, Elizabeth.

Michael is a 1966 graduate of the Rock Valley School. He attended St. John’s University of Collegeville, Minnesota later graduating from the College of Art and Design at Minneapolis, Minnesota.

After graduation, he worked as a staff designer at the Minneapolis Tribune, and with British newspaper designer, Frank Ariss for AR Communication Corp. For four years he was art director at the San Francisco Examiner. He has recently been named senior design editor of the Herald Examiner at Los Angeles.

He married the former Sonni Curran and they have two children, Cristi and Jessica.

4. IRMA was born on June 6, 1903. She graduated from St. Mary’s High School and taught in rural schools until her marriage. She married Fred Buckley in 1927 and they lived near Maurice, Iowa. She passed away on November 19, 1966 and is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Maurice, Iowa. They had six children: Charles, Maurice, Iowa; Judge Collene Buckley, Omaha, Nebraska; Dennis, Omaha, Nebraska; Mary K. Dunbar, Omaha, Nebraska; Sheila Enders, Ponca, Nebraska and Daniel, LeMars, Iowa.

5. CLEMENT was born August 11, 1907. He attended rural schools and did farm work until joining the Army during World War II. He served almost four years in Iran and Germany as an ambulance driver. On his return, he continued to do farm work until his death on February 15, 1973.

6. ARLENE was born on October 9, 1910. She graduated from Rock Valley High School in 1927 and then went on to graduate from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Sioux City, Iowa. She worked as an R.N. in hospitals in Clinton, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois. She moved to Waterloo, Iowa in 1937, working as a visiting nurse until returning in 1972.

She married Lawrence J. Rimmer in 1937. They have three daughters: Bette (Mrs. Carl Bruno) lives in Libertyville, Illinois and has three children, Christopher, Elizabeth and Sarah. Gail (Mrs. William Lavin) lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Her children are, Kathryn O’Meara and Christopher. Mary Joyce (Mrs. Donald Huscle) has two children, Christina and Michael.

RESEARCH NOTES: added by Wilma J. Vande Berg
From a family report on ancestry.com (by other family members)
James William Keegan was born 24 Aug 1868 Bryant, IA and died 4 May 1937 Doon, IA. He was the son of James Keegan 1815-1895 and Catherine Sheehan 1835-1916. They have a separate BIOS.
James W. Keegan married Kathryn Alice O’Meara born 13 Aug 1876 at Waterford Clinton Co. UA and died 2 Dec 1929 Rock Valley IA. She was the daughter of John O’Meara 1837-1877 and Rose Ann Slavin 1836-1886.
There children are given in the above narrative.


Keegan James born 1869 died 1937 father, St. Mary’s cemetery Rock Valley IA.
Note: Find a Grave has James Keegan born 1868 died 1937 buried in St. Mary’s cemetery Rock Valley. Wife was Kathryn O’Meara; Percy, Kathryn, Margaret, Clarence, Clem, Florence, Irma and Arlene.
Hawarden Independent of May 13, 1937
James Keegan, a pioneer resident of Rock Valley, passed away at his home May 5th following a brief illness. Funeral services were held at St Mary's church there last Friday morning.
In the De Volksvriend of May 20 1937 page 9 under Rock Valley News (in Dutch)
Translated: Died Mr. James Geegan, on 4 May. He was born in Bryant, IN in 1868 and can her in 1886. His wife died in 1929. The children are Persy and Margaretn, Clement and Mrs. Erma Buckley of Maurice, Clarence and Mrs. Kathryn Heffernan of Inwood: Arlene of Clinton IA and Florence of Albequerue NM.
No Rock Valley Bee papers survived for this date.

From the Rock Valley Bee, December 13, 1929:
Last Rites For Mrs. James Keegan
Mrs. James Keegan, nee Kathryn O’Mara, whose death was briefly mentioned in last week’s Bee, passed away at her home northwest of Rock Valley, December 2, 1929, following an illness of six weeks in the Sacred Heart hospital in Le Mars. A few days before her death she was removed from the hospital to her home, as it was evident that nothing further could be done for her.
Mrs. Keegan had lived in this vicinity for thirty-five years, having come to northwest Iowa in 1891. After coming here, she taught school for three years, and on November 16, 1897, she was united in marriage to James Keegan, who survives her. She was a woman who was loved and respected by all who knew her, and she will be greatly missed not only in her home but also in this community where she had spent so many years of her life.
Mrs. Keegan was born at Petersville, Iowa, August 13, 1876, where she received her early training and grew to womanhood.
Besides her husband, she leaves to mourn her death eight children, Percy, Kathryn, Clement and Margaret at home; Arleen, of Sioux City; Florence, of Denver, Colorado; Irene, of Maurice, Iowa; and Clarence, of Inwood. She also leaves two brothers and two sisters, Mrs. J. H. Smith, of Alvord, Iowa; Mrs. John Clark, of Aneta, N. Dak.; Mr. T. J. O’Mara, of Farmington, Minn; and Mrs. Daniel O’Mara, of Aneta, N. Dak; and two grand children, Charley Buckley and Mary Helen Keegan.
Funeral services were held from St. Mary’s church in Rock Valley at nine o’clock last Thursday morning. The services were largely attended by sympathizing friends.

Picture of James and Kathryn taken from the St. Mary's church book of Rock Valley


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