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Billy's Story

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Billy O. Keener, 92, of West by God Virginia, passed away peacefully at his residence in Naples, Florida, on Saturday (Oct. 21, 2017).
Bill was born in Grafton, in February of 1925, to Fred J. and Lily Keener. He was raised in Fairmont and graduated high school at East Fairmont High in 1942. He enlisted in the Navy in June of 1943. Once he completed his basic training, he traveled to Pearl Harbor and joined the crew of the USS Birmingham (CL-62) as a signal man. The Birmingham was a light battle cruiser and saw a lot of action in the whole Pacific Campaign during World War II. In fact, she received nine battle stars and was awarded the Secretary of the Navy's Commendation for her service.
Bill was wounded when the Birmingham was attempting to aid the severely damaged USS Princeton (CVL-23) and was awarded the U.S. Military Purple Heart medal.
Billy is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ella Keener, also of West Virginia, and five children. He has three sons, Rad Keener of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dale Keener of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, and Jay Keener of Morgantown, and two daughters, Kathi Keener Benson and Sandra Keener Dunko, both of Naples, Florida. Grandad also leaves nine grandchildren, four boys and five girls, and 11 great-grandchildren. Bill is also survived by his two sisters, Betty Keener Andrews and Ada Keener Morris.
He is predeceased by his parents and his two brothers, Bud and Larry Keener.
Bill raised his family in Morgantown, where he was an electrician with the IBEW union. He will be remembered for his honesty and integrity, his hard work ethic, but also his sense of humor. He loved to tease and had a very quick, dry wit. Everyone who met him liked him immediately. He will be missed by all.
A full military memorial conducted by the VFW will be held in Morgantown at a later date with interment at the National Cemetery in Grafton. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the veterans' charity of your choice.
Published on October 28, 2017
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