Arlene Simpson Keenan, age 81, passed away peacefully in her daughter's home, in Thornton PA, on April 6, 2022, after her valiant battle with cancer.
Lovingly known as "Ra-Ra," Arlene was born on May 3, 1940 to the late Richard and Lena Simpson in Troy, NY. She lived in various states throughout her childhood, but ultimately returned to Troy and graduated from both Catholic Central HS and SUNY Albany. She studied French and History, married the love of her life and moved to Wilmington, Delaware in 1972.
Above all, Arlene was a homemaker, but she held various teaching jobs throughout the years after marrying John in 1962. She began her career by teaching High School French. Once she had children, she became a daycare director for Christ Our King Church, served her community as a Sunday school teacher as well as spent countless volunteer hours she dedicated to her children’s school as she consistently made them a priority. Her love was abundant. She was always present during her children’s games, marching band shows and when grandkids came along, proved very hands on for babysitting. A true passion came alive when she started volunteering at Rockwood Museum, where she became a guide for almost 30 years. She adored her time there, learning and sharing stories of the Shipley and Bringhurst families, volunteering at the annual Ice Cream festivals and depicting the paranormal and infamous ghost stories of the mansion. The Rockwood Estate was her Victorian paradise and the life-long friendships made and these memories will be forever cherished.
Arlene will always be remembered for her cheerful spirit, her insatiable appetite for murder mysteries and her competitive nature always shining when playing Who Wants to Be A Millionaire against her sister Kate, WWF and most recently Wordle! And, while Arlene hated the cold weather, she loved holidays spent with family and cruising the Caribbean throughout the years with John.
She faced her disease with tenacity and grace and chose to live each day with fortitude. Her final years were still very much filled with adventure, including an overnight excursion at the Shanley Haunted Hotel, spending time with Beth’s family in OCNJ as well as traveling to FL to visit extended family. Although now in God’s grace, she will be deeply missed by all who knew her and loved her.
Arlene is survived by her two children, Chris (Lisa) of Louisville, KY and Beth (Steve) Meyers of Thornton, PA; her sister, Kathleen Russo of Albany, NY; five grandchildren, Nicole, Connor, Nolan, Clay and Brendan; as well as a host of nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her big sister. Audrey. Her husband and soul mate, John J. Keenan III, predeceased her in the fall of 2017.
Her family would like to thank her innovative team at Fox Chase for giving all of us a little more time with our beloved “Ra-Ra.” We would also like to thank Delaware Hospice for their loving care for these last few months.
Visitation will be held Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 10am with a Memorial Mass at 11:30am at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 4701 Weldin Road, Wilmington, DE. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Ukraine, The Rockwood Museum or read your favorite book.
To offer condolences, please visit: gebhartfuneralhomes.com