JUDITH WHIRLEY MOHR KEANE - Ottawa High School Class of 1957, Ottawa University Class of 1970
Judith Mohr Keane, 78, passed peacefully on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017 in Prescott AZ.
A memorial reception will be held on August 26th from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. Remarks by family and friends will be at 2:00 pm. Sedona Creative Life Center, 333 Schnebly Hill Road, Sedona, AZ.
Judith was born on March 22, 1939 in McPherson, Kansas. She grew up in Ottawa, Kansas with dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. In high school Judith met and later married Byron Mohr. At the age of 27, while raising 4 small children on the farm, she attended college and earned a Bachelors of Political Science degree from Ottawa University (1970).
Continuing her education, she achieved a Masters of Public Administration from Kansas University (1973), and was an ABD (all but dissertation) Doctorate of Public Administration, University of Georgia.
A pioneer herself, she encouraged other women to enter the Public Administration field. Judith spent many years working as a consultant providing professional and organizational development training to local governments and private organizations. She served as Associate Director of the Institute of Public Affairs and Community Development at Kansas University, Assistant Director of Governmental Training at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Government, and with the International City Managers Association.
Judith was a member of the community oriented policing team, which conducted training to over 600 staff from 130 jurisdictions. She provided many articles to professional journals, and served as the Sedona representative for NACOG from 1994-2000 chairing many committees and local studies.
A testament to her strength of character, Judith endured several hardships in the late 70’s. A divorce, the death of her youngest son David at 18, and a near death car accident that left her in a body cast for a year forcing her to learn to walk again. During those years, Judith became more spiritually aware and developed a firm belief in the power of the human spirit and its ability to overcome adversity.
Happiness returned in 1981 when she married ICMA Director and long time colleague, Mark E. Keane. Still recovering from her accident, Judith moved from Georgia to Washington, D.C. to begin a new chapter in her life. She welcomed 7 new family members into her life, Mark’s children. A few years later she and Mark retired to Sedona, AZ.
After settling in Sedona, Judith worked for the City of Sedona as the Quality Improvement Coordinator and continued with her consulting work. She was well known as a voice for community building, and a leader in the development of rational public policy. She served on the Sedona City Council from 1996-2000 and Vice Mayor from 1998-2000. In addition, she was a founding board member and 2nd President of Sedona Women. In 2000, the Red Rock News honored her as Sedona’s Citizen of the Year.
She served on the Verde Valley Medical Center Board of Directors, and facilitated many local forums addressing the needs of the community she loved. In 2003 she became a member of the Daughter’s of the American Revolution.
After 32 years of marriage, Mark passed away in 2013. In the fall of 2015, Judith seeking adventure and travel, sold her home, put everything in storage, and embarked on a 5 month European trip. She stayed mostly in Hostels traveling from country to country, and making up her journey as she went along. She returned in March of 2016 and settled in Prescott.
Judith will be remembered fondly for the “special gifts” she demonstrated throughout her life. Her unyielding love of family and friends, tenacity, and positive outlook, Judith always exuded style and class in every facet of her life. Within her profession, she worked tirelessly and was highly respected as an effective leader whose positive demeanor, and innate ability to unify people and causes, enabled community consensus on often-divisive issues.
Judith is survived by children Mark Mohr (Trudy), Nancy Mohr-Helfinstine (Scott), Monty Mohr (Tracy), Dennis Keane (Joan), Brian Keane (Veronica), Mary Keane- Vilter (Paul), Peter Keane, Barry Keane (Sophia), a brother Phil Whirley (Doris) and sister Sharon Wadsworth and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
OHS 1957 FOOTNOTE:
Judith Whirley Mohr Keane was inducted into the Ottawa High School Wall of Fame in 2004. She was the first member of the OHS Class of 1957 class to be so honored. Gary Hornbuckle was inducted in 2007, Lynda Igel Conner in 2008, Mike Shaughnessy and Morgan Williams were inducted in 2010.