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Ava's Story

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Ava Jo (Thompson) Keeney (1959-2015) passed away at her home on September 21, 2015, following a 16 month battle with cancer. Born January 17, 1959, in Buffalo, Oklahoma, the daughter of Vance and Betty Jo Thompson was the youngest of four children. Growing up with three older brothers, Ava loved the outdoors, and whether it was riding horses or her motorcycle, she always tried to keep up with the boys. At Buffalo High School, Ava was a star athlete in both basketball and track and field, and was selected to the 1977 Oklahoma High School Girls All-State Basketball Team. On March 3, 1979, Ava married her husband, Jim Keeney, and the couple, along with their two children, Austin and Erin, eventually settled in Alva. In 1988, Ava decided to return to school and finish her degree at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. After being spotted in a pickup basketball game on campus, Ava was asked to join the Lady Rangers by Coach Milburn Barton. At the age of 29, with two kids, ages 8 and 6, Ava returned to the hardwood where she played for two years before graduating from Northwestern in 1990. One of the family’s favorite memories was traveling to watch Ava play basketball, knowing she was often as much as ten years older than her teammates and competitors. After graduating from Northwestern, Ava took over the management of Jim’s chiropractic clinic, a position she would hold for the next 25 years. A devoted wife and mother, Ava never missed either of her kids’ sporting events or school functions. While Austin and Erin were growing up, they spent a lot of time practicing basketball in the gym, and even though her playing days were over, Ava often went along to show the two that Mom could still play. Even after Austin and Erin went off to college, she would often travel to their games to watch them play, whether it be in Illinois or Virginia, Ava was there. Ava was a kind, gentle and fun-loving soul whose laughter could light up the room. In her later years, Ava loved to travel and often had many adventures with Jim and their close friends, Randy and Carla Mitchell. She loved animals, particularly dogs and horses, and often talked about volunteering at the local animal shelter upon retirement. In 2012, Ava was blessed with her only grandchild, Casen, whom she loved dearly and spoiled often. “Lolly,” as she was known, enjoyed playing with Casen as much as possible, whether it be time spent on the playground or going on rides around the ranch to visit the horses. A devout Catholic, Ava grew up going to church in Buffalo with her father, Vance, and remained an active member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Woodward until she could no longer attend. In her last days, Ava often talked of ‘God’s plan,’ and always knew that better things lie ahead. Ava was preceded in death by her father, Vance Thompson, and brother, Douglas Thompson. She was survived by her husband, Jim Keeney; her son and his family, Austin, Callie and Casen Keeney; her daughter, Erin Keeney; her mother, Betty Jo Thompson; her brother and sister-in-law, Jerry and Kim Thompson; her brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Deana Thompson, and her sister-in-law, Pam Thompson, as well as countless other cousins, nieces, nephews and many dear friends. In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that donations be made in her name to the W.O.O. F. Pet Rescue, Woodward, Ok in care of the Mason Funeral Home, P.O. Box 695 Shattuck, Ok 73858. Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, September 25, 2015 at the Saint Peter Catholic Church in Woodward, OK at 1:30 p.m. with Father Joe Arledge presiding. Interment will follow at the High Point Catholic Cemetery in Buffalo, OK with the Mason Funeral Home of Shattuck, OK in charge of arrangements.
Published on  October 1, 2015
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