Marlys Keen


Marlys Keen, 88, of West Fargo, died on July 2, 2020 at Eventide Sheyenne Crossings.

Marlys Jeannine Keffeler was born on February 28, 1932 to Benjamin and Frances (Larson) Keffeler in Dickinson, ND, where she graduated from high school.

She and her family then moved to Hamilton, MT, where she was asked to be church pianist, choir, and Sunday School teacher by Marvin L. Keen, a young intern pastor, to whom she later became engaged! They were married in Hamilton on July 6, 1952. While Marvin finished seminary, Marlys attended Capital University in Columbus, OH.

After Rev. Marvin’s ordination in 1954, they lived in several different places while he served parishes in the states of Illinois, Montana, Missouri, and North Dakota, including Horace Lutheran and Salem Lutheran Churches in Horace, and Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fargo. They built new parsonages in many of these places and Marlys was always willing to serve as church organist, pianist, secretary, choir member, and even choir director when needed. She was also active in Ladies Aid circles of those churches.

Marlys was an avid photographer, she saw beauty in everything she saw and was able to capture that beauty through her lens. She was a trained vocalist and flautist. Marlys’s voice was beautiful - she could easily be heard in church singing hymns as well as many other places, if there was music playing, she was singing along. She and Marvin eventually retired in Fargo. Marlys lived at Eventide Crossings for several years. She enjoyed the social activities and made many friendships.

The family wishes to thank all the staff at Sheyenne Crossing and hospice for assisting her with having a fulfilled life during her active years and comfortable end to her life.

Marlys is survived by her children, Jeannine (Jim) Wilcox, Buffalo, ND, Dan (Loretta) Graham-Keen, Ames, IA, Ramona (Jerome) Gunderson, Thompson, ND, and Sharon (Scott) Wellendorf, Independence, MO; ten grandchildren, Tara, Tanya, Emily, Rebecca, Jana, Corinna, Jamie, Jordan, Macy, and Ian; 10 great-grandchildren, Will, Henry, James, Nicholas, Thomas, Cora, Lewis, Clara, Hannah, and Alden; and a sister, Michelle Cobb, San Diego, CA.

She was preceded in death by her husband Marvin; a son, Ben Keen; a granddaughter, Sarah Gunderson; her parents, and a brother, Douglas Keffeler.

Private Funeral: Monday, July 13, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in West Funeral Home Chapel, West Fargo, with Visitation held one hour prior to her service.

Burial: Horace Lutheran Cemetery, Horace, N.D. West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center

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