Colleen (Cox) Keith
Colleen F. (Cox) Keith passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. She was 87 at the time of her death.
Visitation will be Monday from 3 to 6 p.m. at Lensing's. A rosary will be recited at 2:30 p.m. and a parish wake service will begin at 6 p.m.
Funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mary Catholic Church in Iowa City. A luncheon will be served in the church hall prior to burial. Interment will then follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Oxford. Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service is handling arrangements.
Colleen was born Nov. 18, 1930, on a farm between Holbrook and Parnell in Iowa County. She was the seventh of nine children born to James Davis Cox and Catherine Bernadette (Barry) Cox. Her childhood was not an easy one, having been raised during the Great Depression. But with this hardship came a better understanding of the value of hard work and family. She proudly carried this trait into every aspect of her life.
She was graduated from Oxford High School, Oxford, Iowa. She attended nursing school at the University of Iowa and was employed at the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City before her marriage.
She married Richard Eugene Keith of West Liberty, Iowa, on Sept. 7, 1957. They were married at St. Mary Catholic Church in Iowa City. Her family have been members of St. Mary for four generations. Her grandmother, Margaret Moore, was one of the first babies baptized in old St. Mary. Colleen and Richard celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on Sept. 7, 1982, surrounded by family and friends, many of whom have fallen asleep. Her beloved Richard was taken from her on Christmas Eve of 1988.
Colleen was determined to fulfill the dreams she and Richard held. She toured Ireland, the land of her ancestors. She rode a camel across the desert of Jordan and into the city of Petra, and waded into the Dead Sea. She purchased gold in the markets of Saudi Arabia. She visited the Holy Land and walked in the footsteps of Christ. She climbed the Great Wall of China, visited Chinese nursing homes and schools and the Forbidden City, and cruised the Caribbean.
She was delivered of a son, Robert E. Keith. Although she was only blessed with one child, she was mother, aunt, friend and confidant to many. She had a spirit that belied her years.
She demanded loyalty and was less tolerant of those who did not put in an honest day's labor for their pay. She was forgiving, and with age came the wisdom to be more tolerant of others and to accept them on their own merit. She opened her home to the homeless and marginalized of Iowa City, and provided shelter and comfort.
She positively loved life, and although she became limited with her physical abilities, she embraced each day with gusto and the honest belief she would have one shining moment in that day. She loved to perform with her sisters in their own version of "Sister Act" and loved to sign Irish melodies. She always was ready with a helping hand, a positive word and a strong back. And she could pitch a decent game of softball.
She was matriarch of a large extended family and her home become a hub of constant activity. She also was archivist for her family and could accurately relate family trees without much hesitation.
Socially, Colleen was active and was a member of many organizations: St. Mary Catholic Church Altar and Rosary, Catholic Daughters of America, National Catholic Society of Foresters, Johnson County Irish, Loyal Order of Moose, Friends of Old St. Michaels in Holbrook and many more.
She is survived by her son, Robert Eugene Keith of Summerville S.C.; one sister, Emilie Ruth Young; many nieces and nephews; and many friends and acquaintances over the years. Those who met her are unlikely to forget the encounter.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Richard, in 1988; her parents, James in 1951 and Catherine in 1978; her stepfather, Henry Aldershof, in 1977; her son-in-law, Raymond J. Carney Jr., in 2017; her brothers, Richard Cox and Joe Cox; her sisters, Margaret Schulte Schott, Maureen Schott Hamilton, Mary Vest, Dorothy Matthess Schulte and Joanne Neuzil; stepbrothers, Pierre and Clark Aldershof; her beloved niece, Patti Matthess Isaacs; nephews, Richard Ruth Jr., Robert Hamilton, James Vest, Gerald Schott, Joe Matthess, Michael Matthess, Dennis Hurley and Richard Rempe; nieces, Linda S. Keith and Debra Cox; sisters-in-law, Esther (Keating) Cox, Donna (Keith) Freers and Bonnie (Cracraft) Keith; and brothers-in-law, Bernard Schulte, Francis Schott, Melvin Schott, Bill Hamilton, Bill Vest, Maynard Matthess, Jack Taylor, John Schultz, Richard Ruth, Ralph Young, Paul Neuzil, James D. Keith and Raymond (Bud) Freers.
Colleen loved watching EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) and would sometimes "catch Mass" two or three times a day, and she loved watching and feeding her birds.
Thank you to the devoted staff and management of Parkview Manor in Wellman, Iowa. And a special thank you to Dr. Ann Broderick for your tireless care offered to Colleen and her family over the years. Thank you to Sr. Teresa Kruml for her pastoral ministry and to Colleen's cousin Mary Jane O'Brien for her visits, support and humor. And Colleen's "other" sons, Michael J. O'Brien and Tom Mascher, for years of kindness.
Colleen will be buried for all eternity where she belongs, next to her beloved husband, Richard, in Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Oxford, Iowa. She will rest there on the rolling hills of rural Iowa with four generations of her family waiting for the resurrection when on the last day every tear will be wiped away. She will meet her Lord and hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, follow me to the home I have prepared for you and those who believe in me in the new and eternal Jerusalem."
Life is eternal, love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, save the limit of our sight. Erin Go Bragh