Pauline (Polly) McKeen died peacefully on February 6th in her 99th year. Daughter of Paul P Martin and Kathleen M Clancy. Lovingly remembered by her five children Nancy McKeen (Darren Campbell), Liz McKeen, Wendy McKeen, Bill McKeen (Nuala Murray) and Kathryn McKeen. Grandchildren Paul Hogan (Maggie), Christine Maki (John), Emily Maki (Nomaan), Abrah McKeen (Beth), Ryan Mance (Alix), Stephanie McKeen, Rachel McKeen (Konrad) and Conor McKeen. Great-grandchildren Sydney Hogan, Angus McCallum (Lana), Mika KhanMaki and Desmond Wright.
Polly was born in Ottawa and spent some time in Sault Ste Marie with her parents. As a young child she lived with her grandparents in Ottawa, attending Mutchmor Public School. As a teenager she was sent to a convent school in Chatham, Ontario where she learned rebellion. She then attended Ottawa Ladies College for a year and worked at Metropolitan Life. She married Wendell McKeen of Ottawa in 1946 (after a one-year postponement due to parental resistance). They lived an adventurous life in the Air Force, moving from place to place. In New Liskeard, Ontario they were a young couple with a new baby, Nancy. In Ottawa, they had two little girls with the addition of Liz. Wendy was born in Exeter, Ontario, and they were off to Winnipeg, where Bill was born. In Alsace-Lorraine, France, they absorbed and revelled in the food, wine, and culture of the European countries they visited, and Kathryn was born. After Europe, it was Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, followed by Centralia and Clinton in southern Ontario. Later it was Sudbury and then back to Ottawa. She made the best of every new place and made home a wonderful welcoming place to come to. Along the way, they forged fast and loyal friendships that lasted a lifetime.
Mom was an astonishing person. She was an only child and had a difficult childhood. So, she vowed she would raise her children with warmth and love. She did so with intelligence, sensitivity, and heart.
She was a born storyteller and regaled us with many tales of her childhood, her adored father, and the “scrapes” she got into at school. Like the time she sat on her hands in the front row and refused to raise her hand in promise not to read any banned books. Or stories of her grandfather, who was born premature and motherless and kept alive by a pair of elderly aunts who kept him in a shoe box in front of the wood stove to keep warm.
Polly was a joyous and fun-loving person who had a positive and optimistic outlook. She was kind and caring while staying principled and strong. She was a determined survivor with a zest for life and a drive to pass this on to her children. In later life, she ventured out to several Elderhostels in many parts of the world and enjoyed them immensely. She spent 16 happy years at the Colonel By Retirement Residence, where she participated in poetry, plays, and short-story readings and enjoyed the company of good friends.
She was not your stereotypical housewife and mother. She was ahead of her time in her thinking – philosophical, creative, artistic, and yet practical and good with her hands.
Her passing is an immense loss to her family and friends.
Service will be held Saturday, February 12 at 2 pm at the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 315 McLeod Street (at O'Connor). RSVP is required. Service will be livestreamed.