James W. Keene


James W. Keene passed away peacefully in his home on Sept. 28, 2020, in the presence of his daughter and son-in-law, after 82 full, happy years. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Priscilla Richie Keene, on Sept. 24, 2018.

Jim was born in Hamilton, New York to James Calvin Keene and Elsa Feichtinger Keene. He attended high school at Westtown School, a Quaker boarding school, where he met Priscilla. He attended St. Lawrence University for his bachelor’s degree, and Indiana State University for his master’s degree. Between degrees, he and Priscilla spent two years in Ramallah, Palestine teaching at the Ramallah Friends School. After completing their educations, Jim and Pri moved to Long Island, New York. Jim worked at the State University of New York at Stony Brook for 33 years as the director of the Career Development Office. He was a founding member of the State University of New York Career Development Organization and served as president of the organization.

In 1995, Jim and Pri took early retirement and moved to Seal Cove on Mount Desert Island. Retirement did not slow him down, and for the next 10 years he variously worked/volunteered at H.G. Reed Inc., the Tremont Fire Department, Southwest Harbor Ambulance Service, the Tremont Planning Board, Ordinance Planning Board, and Cemetery Committee. He received the Annual Harvey Kelley Sr. Good Citizenship Award in 2014, in recognition of his contributions to the town of Tremont. In 2015, Jim and Pri moved to Dirigo Pines in Orono, Maine, where they continued to be active in their community.

When he wasn’t working, Jim enjoyed numerous hobbies. He had a beautiful voice and participated in choral groups including the Laurentian Singers at St. Lawrence University, and the chorus at SUNY Stony Brook. He loved classical music, and regularly attended performances at the Collin Center for the Arts and Kneisel Hall. Jim loved photography as well. He always had a camera with him, whether to take artistic shots or to document events, and was a member of the MDI Photo Club. He and Pri were also members of Acadia Friends Meeting, the Footloose Friends (a hiking group on MDI), Friends of Acadia, and the Maine Island Trail Association. They participated in the loon breeding surveys and Maine Audubon. Jim also loved sailing, navigation, canoeing, kayaking, woodwork, and camping. He was a member of the Bass Harbor Yacht Club, and was especially proud of the shellback dinghy he made at the Wooden Boat School.

Jim is survived by his daughter Julie, son-in-law Chris Eskesen, grandson Ian James Keene Eskesen, and his sister and brother-in-law Joan and Dale Smith.

A celebration of life is planned, however due to the pandemic there are no details at this time. Jim’s life was characterized by service. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your community first responders, arts, or environmental stewardship.

Know when to pay your respects.