The Times West Virginian


January 31, 2013

Earl Keener

Earl Richard Keener, 87, passed away Tuesday (Jan. 29, 2013) at St Barbara’s Memorial Nursing Home in Monongah.

He was born Feb. 21, 1925, in Carolina, son of the late Basil and Livinia (Work) Keener.

Earl graduated from Farmington High School in 1942 and served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-46 in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

He graduated from Fairmont State College in 1950. While there he played basketball, football and baseball, was awarded all-conference running back and all-conference baseball team from 1946-49. In 1946 he was drafted by the LA Rams football team.

He received his master’s degree from West Virginia University in 1951 and was a Marion County educator for 35 years. He was a coach and principal beginning his career at Monongah High School in 1950, then Rivesville from 1952-55, then back to Monongah High School where he coached three sports and received many accolades.

In 1968-69 he took the Monongah Lions football team with Nick Saban quarterbacking to the state championship, then the Marion County championship, Mason-Dixon championship (1968-69) and the state championship again (1969-70), with future West Virginia University standouts Kerry Marbury and Charlie Miller. In 1968 he was named the West Virginia Coach of the Year.

Earl became principal of Monongah High School in 1971 and then principal of White School (ALC). He retired from the Marion County Board of Education in 1982.

He came out of retirement in 1984 to coach Clarksburg’s Notre Dame High School’s football team with his son Rich as assistant coach for three years. He led the Fighting Irish to the state playoffs in 1986.

He received Fairmont State College’s Varsity Letter of Distinction in 1995 and was inducted into the Fairmont State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. Earl was a lifelong member of the Elks Lodge, VFW and the Fairmont Moose Lodge.

Earl and his late wife Anita (Barr) Keener married in 1950. They had five children. Jeffrey Keener (deceased), Mary Shaffer and husband Mark, Nina Gyorko, Rich Keener and Michele Taylor and husband Wesley; five grandchildren, Sean Taylor and wife Ashley, Scott Taylor, Chris Gyorko, Nick Gyorko and Lauren Shaffer; and one great-grandchild, Chloe Taylor.

In addition to his parents, wife and one son, he was preceded in death by a brother, Charles Keener, and a sister, Wanita Harrison.

The family would like to extend a thank you to the St. Barbara’s Memorial Nursing Home for their special care and kindness.

Family and friends may call at Domico Funeral Home, 414 Gaston Ave. in Fairmont, from 1-8 p.m. today and 9-11 a.m. Friday. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in the funeral home with Father William Kuchinsky officiating. Interment will follow at Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens in Westover with full military rites being performed at graveside.

Condolences may be sent to the family online at

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