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Sally Ann (Keenan) ChesterSeptember 12, 1950 ~ May 3, 2017 (age 66)
Sally Ann (Keenan) Chester, 66, loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and teacher, passed away May 3, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona after a short, vicious fight against Amyloidosis AL and Multiple Myeloma with her husband, Kevin Chester, by her side.
Sally was born on September 12, 1950 in Steubenville, Ohio, to Kathleen ‘Marie’ (Hughes Keenan) Bernabei and James Richard Keenan as the first of eight children. She grew up in Toronto, Ohio, where she graduated from Toronto High School. She then graduated from West Liberty State College in Wheeling, West Virginia, and taught in Steubenville, Ohio, where she met her husband, Kevin. Sally and Kevin later lived in Youngstown, Columbus and Findlay, Ohio, before settling in Tucson, Arizona in 1991.
Known for her kindness, compassion, and her giving spirit, she set an example of generosity and selflessness through her time spent as a mother to seven foster children and five exchange students. A gifted teacher, Sally helped to shape hundreds of minds during her time at Kellond Elementary School, where she taught Kindergarten, 2nd grade and substituted for over 20 years. Sally loved her job as a teacher, as well as her students and the many friends she made at Kellond. She also delighted in applying her skills outside of the classroom – thanks to her PE training when studying to be a teacher, many of her loved ones were surprised at how quickly they were defeated by Sally in bowling, ping pong, and pool.
Sally shared her talents as a seamstress with friends, family, and even friends-of friends. Over the years, she stitched clothing for her siblings and children, with a range including special-occasion dresses for weddings and proms, Halloween costumes, and even doll clothing for play. Quilting, though, is where Sally created a legacy, making over 100 beloved baby blankets for many near and far. Even in the hospital, Sally spoke of the baby blankets that she started or planned and wanted to finish.
When not teaching, sewing, or spending time with her children and grandchildren, Sally pursued active hobbies in her community and her home. She built cherished relationships with her two Bunco groups, her book club, and her Tucson lunch group. She had a green thumb, tending to spectacular gardens while she lived in Ohio, and even coaxing tomatoes to grow in her yard in Tucson.
Her father, James Richard Keenan, precedes Sally in death. She will be missed by a large, close-knit family, including her mother Marie and stepfather Pasquale Anthony ‘Patsy’ Bernabei of Toronto, Ohio, her husband Kevin, her daughters Kelli (Mike) Nardis of Singapore, Katie (Josh) Lasota of Wichita Falls, Texas, Erin (Chad) Walter of Scottsdale, Arizona and Maria of Tucson, Arizona, and her grandchildren Clara and Anna Nardis, Emily, Elise and Ethan Lasota, Lincoln Walter, and Ariana Wik, Lilian and Alice Marksberry. Sally is also survived by siblings Ann (George ‘Buzzy’) Cattrell, Marie Lamatrice, Karen (Bob) Kremer, Jane (Larry) Fry, Jim (Jeanine) Keenan, Shawn Keenan and Pat (Heidi) Keenan, 17 additional brothers and sisters-in-law and 42 nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are invited to attend a memorial visitation Sunday, May 7, 2017 from 4:00pm -7:00pm at the J.E. Foster Funeral Home in Toronto, Ohio. A funeral mass will be held Monday at 11 am at St. Francis Catholic Church in Toronto. Fr. Thomas Vennitti will celebrate the Mass and inurnment will follow in Toronto Union Cemetery followed by a luncheon in the hall of the church. There will be a Vigil Service on Sunday at 3:45 pm at the funeral home.
A celebration of life will be held in Tucson, Arizona on Friday, May 26, 2017 at noon at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. A luncheon reception will follow mass. Cremation services in AZ handled by Hudgel’s Swan FH.
In lieu of flower or gifts, the family is establishing a memorial fund for Kellond Elementary School. Donations can be made directly to Kellond or at https://www.youcaring.com/sallychester-793022