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Joseph Sessions KEENAN

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KEENAN, Joseph Sessions "Joe"Age 84, passed away on June 30, 2013. He was born in Carrollton, Mississippi on October 1, 1928. A beloved husband to his wife, Nan, to whom he was married 57 years. A beloved father to A. Christopher Keenan, Cecilie DeVeaux (Whayne), and Andrew Eggleston Keenan (Nancy); three grandchildren, Rasa Keenan Braswell, Allison Elizabeth Keenan, Noah Peyton Keenan. Joe was a Lieutenant in Army Aviation in the Korean War for four years and continued serving in the Army Reserve following the war. Joe and Nan met when in New York while pursuing acting careers. They were married at the famous "Little Church Around the Corner" Church of the Transfiguration. They decided to raise their family in a little less congested area and since both of them loved the South, they started their married life in Richmond, Virginia. There they performed in the first production at The Museum Theater where Joe, at 26, played the Father in Life With Father. After that, they lived in Charlottesville, Virginia where son Chris was born and Joe received his Masters in Speech Pathology. From there they moved to Gainsville, Florida where Cecilie was born and he earned his PHD. Next came Winston Salem, where Andy was born. The couple helped to open the Haynes Theater. Joe began his career with the VA Hospital in Atlanta, where the family lived for 10 years. While there he received the Helen Cartledge Award for Best Actor playing Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons. Joe was a beloved actor, wonderful storyteller and author. He wrote numerous short stories and published several books. The latest were "Old Tales-New Tails" and "A Joyful Journey." These books are available at Parnassus Books in Green Hills. He was a gifted musician and an accomplished guitarist who played and sang for social groups and nursing homes. He taught himself to play the bowed psaltery, an ancient Biblical instrument which sounds like a sweet violin, which he played frequently in church. Joe came to Tennessee in 1972 to establish an audiology and speech pathology clinic at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Murfreesboro, where he served as Chief until he retired in 1988. They returned to professional acting when they moved to Franklin in 1992. Both Joe and Nan were well-known actors in and around Nashville. Some of Joe's favorite acting roles included Candy in Of Mice and Men, Phil Hogan in Moon for the Misbegotten and Henry Drummond in Inherit the Wind. He appeared in numerous roles at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre and the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. A Celebration of his Life will be held Saturday, July 13th at 2 p.m. at Church of the Resurrection, 1216 Sneed Road West, Franklin, TN 37069; with a reception following in Rogers Hall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to Church of the Resurrection. The family wishes to thank Barry Braden of Caregivers by WholeCare and the staff of Alive Hospice for their love and tender care, and all the dear people who helped make Joe's last days more peaceful as he transitioned into his Joyful Journey. CRAWFORD MORTUARY & CREMATORY, 615-254-8200.
Published in The Tennessean on July 7, 2013
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