Ed Keema, a native and lifelong resident of Elk Grove, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his Franklin home, early Friday morning, November 26, after a long illness.
Ed was born to Edward and Pauline (Christesen) Keema on June 2, 1929. He was 92 years old. A descendant of early settlers in the Franklin area, he attended Franklin Grammar School and graduated from Elk Grove High School, Class of 1947. After High School he joined the U.S. Navy and served for 4 years during the Korean War. Upon his return from the Navy, he went to work for Home Milk (which later became Crystal Creamery). He married Ethel Jonson of Courtland in 1952 and began his life as a married man and dairy farmer on the dairy on Bruceville Road. He and Ethel raised three children, and in 1975, they moved to their ranch on Eschinger Road, in the Franklin area. They continued in the dairy business and designed and built a new house (Ed doing most of the construction himself). Their family continued to grow as all three children married and they were blessed with 12 adored grandchildren, all of whom lived within a few miles.
Ed always enjoyed woodworking and building things, and became involved in creating the sets and props for the Elk Grove Strauss Festival along with friend, Arnie Zimbelmann. Among their most memorable creations were the Ferris wheel, castle, calliope, and swan boat. He was also a member of the Elk Grove Historical Society, and did work on the Rhodes School House and Stage Stop, turning and creating all of the spindles on the outer railing of the building.
Restoring and rebuilding horse-drawn carriages was also a consuming hobby, and his barn contains many of those he built. His crowning achievement was the creation of an exact replica of a Wells Fargo Stage Coach. The coach has been featured in the Western Festival Parade and even a movie. Ed was commissioned to create and handcraft a smaller version of the coach to be used as a time capsule by the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce and it is on display in the Elk Grove Town Hall.
Because of Ed’s community service, the Community Services District dedicated Keema Park in 2005
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, brother Rodney Keema of Elk Grove, and great-grandson, Owen Keema.
He is survived by his loving wife, Ethel, of 69 years, daughter, Kathy Hospenthal (Rich Klugkist), son, Mark (Kathleen), and daughter, Joan (Roger) Mahon. His 12 grandchildren include: John Hospenthal Jr., Greg Hospenthal, Lauren Hospenthal Lund, Adam Keema, Stephen Keema, Erin Keema Matthew, Megan Keema Cantrell, Katie Keemahill, Alice Keema, Jason Mahon, Matt Mahon and, Scott Mahon. He is also survived by 17 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, December 3, at 11:00 am at Point Pleasant Church 3329 Point Pleasant Rd., Elk Grove. Burial will be at the Franklin Cemetery. Reception following service. Remembrances may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.