John Charles Keenan was born on November 13, 1913, in Dallas, Texas. His parents were Walter Edward Keenan and Gertrude Carlson Keenan.1 In 1930, his father was a construction foreman and John was a sheet metal helper.2
Keenan enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 2, 1934. He was a career officer with numerous military assignments in the United States and Japan.3 Major Keenan was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star for his service during World War II and the Korean War.4 He retired from the Army on March 31, 1959.5
Keenan married Second Lieutenant Anna Mae Culley on January 28, 1942, in Greenwood, South Carolina. He had been stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. She joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in July 1941 and was stationed at Camp Croft, South Carolina, where she met Lieutenant Keenan.6 He was with Co. B, 27th Infantry Training Battalion, Camp Croft.7 She traveled with him to his numerous assignments in the U.S. and Japan.
The Army Nurse Corps was established on February 2, 1901. Volunteers who wanted to join the ANC had to be a registered nurse with two years of hospital training and were required to be a citizen of the United States. Initially, army nurses received little military training where patient care took precedence. The army then started a basic training program for nurses in 1943. This 144 hour program included basic military training, administration, organization, sanitation, clinic and ward training. During World War II over 59,000 nurses served in the Army Nurse Corps.8
Upon his retirement in 1959, Keenan and Anna moved from Van Nuys, California, to Tucson, Arizona, where he was employed by Globe Securities until his death three years later.9
John Charles Keenan died on August 20, 1962, in Tucson of acute coronary insufficiency due to coronary thrombosis. He was survived by his wife; his stepmother, Daisy; and his brother Walter.10