Betty Keenan

Honored by:Her Friends
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Elizabeth Ann Keenan, more commonly called Betty or "B.K.," was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 3, 1929, to Walter and Faye E. Keenan. She was an active youngster who could be described as a tomboy. The neighborhood boys were her pals or enemies as they played ball or climbed trees. Swim meets were her first exposure to formal competition. Betty attended a parochial high school in Chicago before enrolling in Sargent College.

She received her B.S. degree from Boston University's Sargent College and taught for six years at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota. She earned a M.S. degree from the University of Iowa in 1958. That same year she joined the faculty at Iowa State in the Department of Womens Physical Education. B.K. remained in the Physical Education Department until her retirement in 1989. She was appreciated by students and faculty as versatile, effective, competent, successful, caring, dedicated . . . the adjectives can continue. B.K. is simply wonderful!!

She taught just about every course offered in the activity program. Though a swimming specialist, she taught a number of other individual and team sports (archery, badminton, billiards, bowling, fencing, golf, riflery, tennis, basketball, field hockey, volleyball, and softball). In addition, she taught self-defense methods courses in hockey, soccer, speedball, softball and officiating.

She served as the advisor to the fencing club, worked with intramural activities, coached the fencing team and has served on more committees than she cares to remember. Along with her teaching versatility, B.K. is recognized for her efficiency, organization, thoroughness of preparation, and sometimes wacky sense of humor. Students enjoyed her classes and her faculty colleagues appreciated her many contributions. B.K. regularly delivered holiday treats to the staff in the physical education building. She continues to serve other people in many ways.

The university recognized her special talents in 1978 when she was awarded a Faculty Citation. Her tennis shoes were hard to fill when she retired in the spring of 1989! The Stevermers consider her part of their family. Mary Stevermer is a former teaching colleague. She remains a close friend and surrogate mother. Katie, Matt and Scott Stevermer played catch, horse, or raced with her when they were young. She continues to challenge their vocabularies, feed them, and support them with her time and money. She usually wins at Trivial Pursuit!

Through the years, B.K. has been an avid sports fan of women’s and men’s athletic competition. During retirement, she volunteers throughout the community. She serves on Octagon committees, helps at the Mary Greeley Hospitality Shop and the Brunier Gallery Shop, and delivers Meals on Wheels.

She has been a volunteer at St. Cecilia School. She enjoys contacts with many other former colleagues and friends. Her summers are spent relaxing at her home in Wisconsin, where she enjoys reading friends and quiet moments on the lake.

Mary Dickman Stevermer
June 1995

Excerpt from "The Clipboard," the ISU Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies Spring 1989 newsletter.