Franciscan Father William Keenan, Rochester native, 90

Gina Capellazzi/Catholic Courier    |    12.20.2017
Category: Obituaries


Franciscan Father William Keenan, a native of Rochester, died Dec. 18, 2017, in Bolivia. He was 90 years old.

Father Keenan graduated from Holy Cross School in 1941 and Aquinas Institute in 1945. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as an aviation cadet during World War II. After his naval service, Father Keenan attended St. Bonaventure University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1950. He also received his commercial pilot’s license, completed the university’s ROTC program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve, from which he was honorably discharged in 1952.

In 1950, he entered the Order of Friars Minor at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J. He professed first vows in 1951 and studied philosophy at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., and theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. Father Keenan made his solemn profession on Aug. 13, 1954, at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y., and was ordained on June 9, 1955, at the Franciscan Monastery, Mount St. Sepulchre, in Washington, D.C.

Followed his ordination, Father Keenan spent time in various ministries in New York City, Puerto Rico and Olean, N.Y., before moving to Bolivia in 1984 to serve as a missionary.

He is survived by his sister, Mary Bowllan, and brothers, James and Thomas Keenan; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. His funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 20, 2017, at San Francisco Church in Cochabama, Bolivia. A memorial Mass took place Jan. 20, 2018, at Holy Cross Church, Rochester.

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