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Celebrating the life of

Margaret Ann Stambaugh Keener

August 28, 1925 - April 11, 2024

Margaret Ann Stambaugh Keener


(August 28, 1925-April 11, 2024)

It is with great sadness that we said goodbye to our beloved mother, grandmother (Mere), and great grandmother, Margaret Ann Stambaugh Keener, on April 11, 2024, after a short illness, at age 98.  She joins her husband of more than 67 years, Ellis B. Keener, MD, leaving behind a life lived with purpose and intent, surrounded by her family, in her home at the Marshes of Skidaway in Savannah, where she resided for 10 years. 

Even in her last years, Ann was a force of nature, cheering on her 13 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She was a friend to family and neighbors, texting and emailing, driving her golf cart on errands, cooking, taking care of her birds and orchids, reading history and biographies, swimming early in the morning, active in multiple committees at the Marshes, and attending her beloved Episcopal church.  

Ann was born at home in the small central Florida town of Auburndale on August 28,1925. She grew up surrounded by orange groves, swimming in the lake in front of her house that was filled with alligators. Her father, Jere Long Stambaugh, came down from Youngstown Ohio, leaving the B.F. Goodrich as the manager of labor, to build a life in the Florida sands.  After graduating from Auburndale High School, now used as a middle school and named after her father, she took the train north to the Women’s College of Florida (Florida State) graduating with a B.S. in Exercise, PEA Life Savings Corps, and Senior Intramural Manager. In between, she was a camp counselor at Clearwater Camp in Wisconsin, which she loved and stayed in touch with for her lifetime. 

After graduating from Florida State, she taught bridge and other board game sports to Florida State undergraduates. She then worked as a wildlife tracking assistant for the State of Florida Department of Natural Resources statistics office, and as an eighth-grade teacher at Haines City High School, in Florida. She returned to Auburndale to take care of her mother (Molly), and then headed to Key West for three years as the Recreational Director of the American Red Cross at the Key West US Naval Hospital. She taught bridge, entertained Navy sailors in the hospital, and met her future husband, Navy Lieutenant Ellis Barlow Keener, MD, the base physician who had just returned from a year-long tour of the Mediterranean. They married on April 24, 1954 and moved to London, where Ellis was a neuropathologist at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery- Neuropsychology Queens Square. Their daughter Jane was born. The following June 1955, they moved to Montreal, Canada, where Ellis worked for the elite McGill University of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital under Dr. Wilder Penfield.  During this time, Ann met life-long friends, cooked lobsters from her bathtub, and had two more sons, Barr and John. Four years later, they moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where Ellis joined the faculty of Emory University, teaching neurosurgery, and over the next three years, Ann bore three more sons–Jere, Bill, and Jim–to complete their family of six children.  

Four words that aptly describe Ann are: “active, social, adventurous, and mom.” These are strengths she shared in parallel with Ellis as they drove their six young children in a Mercury station wagon, and the Nimrod Travel Trailer, touring historic locations like Mackinaw Island, the Little White House, Edison’s Ft Myers Home, the Everglades, the Okefenokee Swamp, the Florida Keys (multiple summers), the Outer Banks, the Smokey Mountains, New York City, and Cumberland Falls. Ann later organized skiing vacations in North Carolina.  She shepherded her children through school, serving leadership positions in the PTA, and volunteering in the classroom. She also served on the DeKalb General Hospital Woman’s Association and the flower guild at St. Bartholomew’s Church and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. When her children left for college and work, she and Ellis moved to Gainesville, GA, and traveled extensively to places such as St. Petersburg, Russia, Paris, the French wine country, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Greece, Spain, and Africa with their friends. Our mother loved the beach, swimming and coastal wildlife (as evidenced by the hundreds of art pieces depicting sea life in her home). She spent many summers at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and more than 20 years at Seabrook Island, South Carolina, always filling her home with family, good food, and good times.

She never missed a birthday, and sent many of her needlepoint creations to her grandchildren, making each feel loved and special.   

From the 1960s until her last year, she cooked and baked. She turned out a magical fruitcake, guava jelly, watermelon pickles, and bread and butter pickles, all from recipes her mother taught her. She continued to make close friends wherever she lived—from Montreal to London, to Atlanta, to Gainesville, Georgia, to Savannah and the Marshes. When her friends celebrated, she celebrated. When they suffered, she was there with food, a call, flowers, and a note.  She loved the Episcopal church and took comfort in the hymns, and short sermons, and communion, serving on the altar guild and participating in bible study groups.  A history buff, she loved reading about Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, and World Wars I and II. She was taking a course on Franklin Roosevelt in her last year of life.

Ann is survived by multiple generations: her daughter Jane (Malcolm) of Savannah, GA, her sons Lyle (Mallory) and Maxwell (Alice); and sons Ellis Barlow (Barr) Keener, his wife, Jessica, of Boston, MA and their son Samuel; John Harvey Keener, his wife, Brandy, of Charleston, SC and their children Kendall, Ty, and Cary Elllis; Jere Stambaugh Keener, his wife, Mercedes, of Ashburn, VA, their daughters Isabela Keener Moore (Cameron)  and Maria; William (Bill) Tindell Keener, his wife, Miriam, of Sequatchie, TN, children Ann (Mike) and Kelsey (Ashley), and their children, Fletcher, Oliver, and Ella Mae; and James (Jim) Wolfe Keener, his wife, Millie, of Wilmington, NC, and children, Brooks (Cami), Jessie Ann O’Dell (Matt), and Jamie. As well as numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. 

Ann leaves a legacy in the world that will continue for generations to come.  Her family and friends will miss her deeply. May she rest in peace. 

Services will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at 3:00 pm at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, on Skidaway Island, Savannah, GA.

In lieu of flowers please honor our mom with your gift to Hospice Savannah, St. Peter’s, Episcopal Church, Skidaway Island, The Marshes Scholarship Fund or Good News Clinic, Gainesville, Georgia.






Mere Ann touched so many of us, I was lucky to have spent my childhood being "cousins" with the Keener kids, camping, exploring and learning to love life. And there are so many great stories and such great times shared. Hugs to you all, sending huge love & peace!

- Deirdre Perot, Rutherfordton, NC

A candle has been lit!

Oh what a wonderful family. I loved your Daddy too. I think of both of them often. You also are in my thoughts and prayers.

- Karen Odom, Peachtree Corners , GA

To all the Keeners....nothing but love and respect to All! What great parents weve all been blessed with! Nothing but great memories of growing up with the Keeners! Love yall! David

- David Cooper, Statham, GA

Sending my deepest condolences to the Keener family. As a Woodward Academy boarder, John befriended me, and I spent almost every weekend at their home. Mrs. Keener was the ideal matriarch and welcomed me like a son. I remember her generosity, quick wit, big laugh, and ability to never seem tired, though she was always doing something! I am lucky to have 2 great sons, but if I’d had a daughter, her name was going to be Ann. All my love and respect to the Keene’s at this time.

- Steve, Williams , Atlanta GA

Mrs. Keener was a force of nature. She and your dad were a tremendous couple who loved their family fervently and embraced life with open arms. They leave behind a marvelous legacy, all so uniquely talented and fun, just like them. I have so many memories of all the Keeners along the way, from late night Christmas breakfast after midnight mass to Dr. Keener churning ice cream at the lake and Mrs. Keener visiting with mom and Grum and her deep, heart felt laughter and endless encouragement. The heavens have a new angel in their midst and the parties have kicked up a notch. Wishing you all joy amongst the sorrow and laughter amongst the tears. Your guardian angel Ann would want it no other way!

- Janet Brady, Atlanta, Ga

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel