July 12, 1937 – July 16, 2018
Al Keenan died suddenly of a broken heart on July 16, two weeks to the day after he lost the love of his life, Leslie Keenan. After being married for 56 years, this was the first time she was ready to go before he was.
Big Al was born in Winnipeg in 1937. Growing up in the North End of Scottish heritage, he had the ability to bewilder cabbies and random folks by using Yiddish to express surprise.
He attended Isaac Newton High School and as a leading member of their basketball squad in 1956 scored 82 points in a single game, setting what stood for 57 years as the Manitoba high school record. His record was only passed by a single point, and he would have been be sure to tell you there were no three-point shots in his era. He was incredibly proud to have been inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, not for basketball, but for football as part of the Canadian champion St. Vital Bulldogs squads of the early 1960’s.
He started work at Eaton’s in 1957 and rose from the stockroom to managing the major appliance and home entertainment departments for western Canada. For a quiet guy, he was a born salesman and even after he moved into management people would return to buy their new appliances from the guy who sold them their fridge 20 years before. He finished his working career selling at Midland Appliance World.
The family spent their summers in the big turquoise trailer on Lot 28 at West Hawk Lake. He worked all week and on Friday nights would cruise into the campground in the 1968 Delmont 88 convertible that was the family car for almost three decades.
Al and Leslie were married in 1961, and moved into their one-and-only family home in 1968. They loved travelling together and created many happy memories in Hawaii, the Caribbean, and on a number of cruises.
Big Al was a man of few words and many cigars, and a reminder to all that still waters run deep.
Al is survived by his children Jason (Kaori) and Leslie Anne Hurley (Darren), granddaughter Rowan Hurley, brother Ian Keenan (Susan Burko), sisters-in-law Sandra Lambert and Leanne Struve (Doug), and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife Leslie, his in-laws Les and Lena Wardale, his parents Charles and Margaret, brother Charles, and sisters Jean and Peggy.
Instead of flowers, you can pay tribute to Big Al with a donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba or the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
Cremation has taken place and the family will host a celebration of the lives of both Leslie and Al at 1 p.m. on August 24, 2018 at Immanuel United Church, 755 Golspie Street at Kimberley Avenue.
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