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Charles Patrick Keegan

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Charles Patrick Keegan

March 17, 1933 – October 30, 2023

Charles was fond of Emily Dickinson’s following poetic sentiment: "Because I could not stop for Death - / He kindly stopped for me - / The Carriage held but just Ourselves - / And Immortality."

Death stopped, mercifully, for Charles on the morning of October 30, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. He was 90 years old.

After Charles was diagnosed, in the summer of 2023, with advanced-stage, terminal cancer, he elected to enter the EveryStep hospice facility, in Des Moines, Iowa. He was cared for in hospice, with compassion and honesty, by his hospice nurse Stacy Schwarte.

Charles was born and raised in Axtell Kansas, during the Great Depression, where he struggled for a time with his family in utter poverty. Charles often spoke of his mother, Geraldine, and her efforts to convince Charles, as a boy, to pursue and enjoy formal education, as a lifetime adventure.

As a young man, Charles graduated from Kansas State University, where he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in business administration; throughout his life he was a Kansas-State football and basketball fanatic. In 1968, Charles finished his studies at Drake University, in Des Moines, Iowa, where he completed work on a master’s degree in economics.

As both a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst, Charles served, over the course of his life, in many different roles in both accounting and finance. Early in his career, Charles worked as the Hospital Administrator for the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, in Des Moines, Iowa. From there, Charles moved, with his family, to Easton, Pennsylvania, where he served as the Treasurer of Lafayette College. After leaving that position, he turned his professional focus, from accounting, to finance, returned to Des Moines, and worked as a Financial Analyst for the American Republic Insurance Company. His work as a Financial Analyst took him next to a job with the Provident Insurance Company in Chattanooga, Tennessee. From there, he moved overseas. In his last job, before his retirement, Charles served as the Chief Financial Strategist for the Kuwait Investment Company, in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

While Charles was working in Kuwait City, in 1990, he found himself suddenly in the middle of the Gulf War. After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Charles was taken hostage by the Iraqi Republican Guard. He was held for several weeks as a “human shield” in a munitions factory, just south of Baghdad, Iraq.

When Charles was ultimately released from several weeks of captivity in Iraq, later in 1990, he retired and returned to the U.S. He spent much of his retirement in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which became his second hometown. Charles was, above all else, an Irishman. During retirement Charles continued to follow his mother’s advice and studied at the University of Tennessee, where he earned a master’s degree in Irish Literature. He was an avid student of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. He continued, during his retirement, as he had for much of his life, to run marathons. He often spoke of the fact that, over the course of his life, he ran a total of ten marathons, ran one in Ireland and ran his last at age 67.

Charles is survived by his three children Catherine Diane Turner (Clayton), Ankeny, Iowa, Stephen Charles Keegan, Des Moines, Iowa, Peggy Ann Keegan, West Des Moines, Iowa, by granddaughter Chelsi Nicole Harbert her husband Nick and their three daughters Briar, Avy, and Blake, Ankeny, Iowa and by granddaughter Emily Van Baale and her sons Cashtyn and Crosstyn Ankeny, Iowa and by five sisters Shirley Greer, Northridge, California and Barbara Townsend, Silver Springs, Maryland and Patricia Schoen, Mentone, Alabama and Marilyn O’Neil, New Berlin, Wisconsin and Elaine Keegan, La Mesa, California.

Charles was preceded in death by his parents Perry and Geraldine Keegan and by his sister Kathleen Grier, Gower, Missouri and by his brother Robert Keegan, Topeka, Kansas.

If you would like to read more about his time during the Gulf War, Charles recorded his memories of his experience as a hostage on his blog:


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