Daniel Keenan

Obituary of Daniel Christopher Keenan

Daniel Christopher Keenan, a young man who embraced life and made others feel appreciated and loved passed away peacefully after a short illness with his mother and father at his bedside on Sunday, April 2, 2023.  He was 38 years old.  Dan was born in Springfield Massachusetts.  He is the son of Christine (Mika) and Michael Keenan of Shaftsbury, Vermont.  He and his family lived in Belchertown, Massachusetts when he was a child.  When his father took a job in Vermont, the family moved to the town of Shaftsbury.  Dan went to School in Belchertown through eighth grade before moving to Vermont and starting his freshman year at Mount Anthony High School in the town of Bennington where he finished his high school education.  While living in Belchertown, Dan and his brother Shaun learned to love nature and the outdoors, camping with their family, enjoying long walks on Quabbin Reservoir that was close to his home and biking long distance on a bike trail to Amherst MA. Dan learned to play the trombone and was part of the school band that participated in many events. He was part of the swim team while in junior high and won trophies for his team. Dan continued to play the trombone as part of the Mount Anthony High School band when he moved to Vermont. He became very athletic, running, weightlifting, and hiking into the mountains with his dad and brother Shaun. Some hikes could be 20 miles, the more extreme the hike and environment the more Dan and his brother liked it. Dan and his brother climbed Mt. Mansfield in the dead of winter in snowy windy conditions and turned back close to the peak as the wind was too strong to crest the top. Mom and Dad often worried about Dans need for such adventure only hearing the stories years later.

After high school he went onto to earn his associate degree at Vermont Technical Community College. He started in Mechanical Engineering, but then switched to Automotive Engineering. 

Danny was extremely smart; he was good at analyzing and solving mechanical problems. He worked at multiple Ford dealerships in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and Florida during his career.  It took him 9 years of studying while working to complete hundreds of study modules, and exams for Dan to become a Ford Senior Master Technician.  He was so proud of his accomplishments becoming part of a Ford technician ranking that few reach. He would often show off his gold coin that he carried in his wallet, proof of his Ford certification. He was the person other coworkers went to when trying to troubleshoot a problem or needed a helping hand.  He made his workplace like a second home and others he worked with like a second family.  As a foreman, he loved to teach others so they could work independently, create self-esteem, and be successful.  He was the person everyone gravitated to.  He was kindhearted, caring, and had a great sense of humor.  He wouldn’t hesitate to buy lunch for his co-workers hoping to lighten the workday and strengthen the work bond, eliminate stress, and make others feel valued and understood. 

Dans love of the outdoors and adventure grew more with the passing years. He was an avid hiker, kayaker, and boater.  He hiked many of the mountains and trails locally and in neighboring states.  He and his father shared many of the same passions.  They both were scuba divers (Dan earned 3 dive certifications) and traveled together to Florida, the Caribbean, and many other destinations searching for new explorations.  They did several cave dives in Florida that were 100 feet down, and several hundred feet into total darkness with only underwater flashlights to see, surely not for the faint of heart.    Dan learned to drive a boat starting at age 12. They continued boating when they moved to Vermont, boating on Harriman reservoir and Lake George. In the beginning his dad was the captain and Dan was the first mate, but over time the roles reversed, when Dan proved to be the better driver. Often the family would have friends with the children on the boat as captain, Dan clarified safety first, laying out the rules before the boat left the dock. He enjoyed giving the children a turn on his lap letting them steer the boat. Years later families still talk about those memories their children still have. Dan and his dad also enjoyed trap and skeet shooting and were members of the Hale Mountain Fish & Game Club.  He inspired his mom to go hiking up mountain trails often ending with Dan cooking vegie burgers on an open fire for his mom and Dad while sharing his vegan snacks from his backpack. As much as Dan was an adventurer, he also enjoyed collecting rocks, gemstones, and even fossils from all around the world.

Dan’s life revolved around his family.  He, his parents, and brother, did everything together. They loved camping and traveled to many warm weather destinations for vacations, shared interests, and placed each other first in their lives.  He was a loving and devoted son to his parents, Michael, and Christine.  They were so proud of his accomplishments as well as the type of man he became.  After his brother Shaun’s passing from an automobile accident which broke the hearts of all his family, he made it a point to be even more involved in his parents’ lives.  What was difficult for Dan was that he was in the car with his brother and fellow coworkers during the accident.  Which was something that caused him pain and loss for the remainder of his life.  As a family they worked together to deal with their grief and to pay tribute and honor Shaun. They honored their son Shaun by Working with the Green Mountain Hiking Club and the National Forest Service to rebuilding the Goddard Shelter and repair the tower on Glastonbury Mountain in Vermont. Dan’s recent illness was something he and his parents expected he would overcome.  His sudden decline and passing are now difficult to accept. Dans smile and affectionate loving hugs would warm your heart. He never judged people, always accepting people for who they were. He had so much capacity to bring happiness to others and had so much to look forward to in his life. Now his family and friends are left with just memories of a wonderful adventurous young man who was compassionate, filled with a love of life, family, and friends. The world be a lesser place without him.  Dan will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.

Dan was survived by his parents, Michael and Christine (Mika) Keenan of Shaftsbury, VT, and his grandfather Walter Mika of Bennington, VT.  He was predeceased by his brother, Shaun Keenan. 

Remembrances in Dan’s memory may be made to The School of Sacred Heart St Francis De Sales, Bennington, VT  so that Dan's love of others and love of teaching others can be remembered by helping other learn and grow.

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