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Mary Keane

In Loving Memory

Keane, Mary Jane (nee Welte)

March 21, 1930 - March 30, 2024

On Saturday, March 30th, 2024.

Beloved wife of the late Jack Keane; devoted mother of Karen (Jack) Holland, Tim (Judie) Keane, Jayme (Todd) Lewis, and the late Mick (surviving Charlyn) Keane and Kelly (surviving Steve) Limmer; adoring grandmother of 9; loving great-grandmother of 14; our dear aunt, great-aunt, cousin, and friend.

In lieu of flowers, contributions made to The Alzheimer’s Association in honor of Mary Jane are greatly appreciated.


  • Please join our family on Saturday, June 8th from 3pm – 6pm at Bartolino’s Osteria (44 and Hampton in the Drury Hotel) to celebrate Mary Jane Keane’s life.  This is a party, just as the Queen of Rutger Street would have wanted it! Plenty of wonderful food and drink from Bartolino’s (no gifts please, other than your laughter). 

The Queen of Rutger Street

For nearly a century, historians have claimed that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was alluding to the Great Depression when he famously asserted “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  However, if you were a bully trying to intimidate the young street urchins living in south St. Louis at the time, you knew the president was actually talking about Mary Jane Keane, the Queen of Rutger Street.

Battling the unforgiving streets of south St. Louis cemented a foundational determination in Mary Jane to do whatever it took to provide her family with a better life.

Mary Jane met and married Jack Keane when she was eighteen years old.  Most who knew Jack understood that he reveled in the glare of the public spotlight while Mary Jane quietly went about raising their five children, often having to spend countless extra hours bolstering her husband’s career.  At times it must have felt to her like she was raising six kids.

Stories of Mary Jane’s heroism may not be legend yet, but they were her life.  Like the time she scorched her arms spilling boiling hot water over them as she carried a pot from the stove to the bath so her first born, Karen, would have a warm bath in the cold water flat that was her first home with Jack.  Or when she confronted the doctors who wanted to amputate both legs of her oldest son Mick after a massive car accident almost took his life.  Or in a Home Alone-like story line when she drove off from a gas station in Ireland without her youngest, Jayme, but heroically (or hysterically) raced back only to find the station owner standing there, holding young Jayme’s hand, shaking his head and mumbling in his Irish brogue “crazy Americans.”  Or when she saved a young girl from drowning in a neighbor’s pool. Or when she knocked on countless doors stumping for “Walkin’ Joe” Teasdale to become Missouri’s 48th governor, who in turn appointed Jack as the Director of Labor for the state.

With this tribute, please feel free to add your own memories below, keeping Mary Jane’s story alive in all of us.


9 thoughts on “Keane, Mary Jane (nee Welte)”

  1. Mary Jane and Jack, Don and I were such good friends! Jack and Don were members of the State Legislature for several years at the same time and used to take turns driving to the State Capitol thereby leaving a family car with Mary Jane or myself so we also had transportation. One week, MJ saw lipstick marked cigarette butts in their car’s ashtrays. Of course, she notified me right away and told me that she was going to confront Jack regarding the suspicious cigarette butts. As fate would have it, after several days of questions and assumptions ,
    we discovered Don had driven our car the week in question so the cigarette butts in the Keane car were mine and Mary Jane’s!
    Took a long time to live that one down.
    I am the last of our foursome to survive and I want to go on record and say how much I miss those youthful days when we were such close friends, always looking out for each other. We will be happily together at the next stop. In the meantime, rest in peace and love ❤️

    • Rita – Thanks for the memory. You and Mom were were the forces to be reckoned with in those relationships. Thank you for the years of love.

  2. Dear Tim (and Judie):
    Although we didn’t know your mom, she must have had a lot of spirt and fortitude to have raised five children – and one of them being you! I know how hard it is to lose a parent. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family.

    With sympathy,
    Noelle and Erwin

  3. It will be good to see everyone in June for mom’s Celebration of Life. She loved family gathering’s, getting all the kids together, will be a fitting tribute.

  4. Mary Jane was a wonderful resident here at Nazareth Living Center. I got to know her better when she was in St. Joseph’s Manor. She brought joy to her table mates and was ready to have activities. Mary Jane had a smile that warmed others she lived with and share a meal with.

  5. Dear Karen, Tim, Jayme and all of the family. So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. I have great memories spending lots of time at your house during our teen years. She was a bit more open minded than most of the other neighborhood moms, but she knew when to crack the whip when we got out of hand.
    Great memories, she will sure be missed.

    • Doug and Peggy, we hope to see you on June 8th at Bartolino’s Osteria (3-6pm) as we celebrate Mom’s life. Doug you were practically one of the family!


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