Joseph F. McKeever Jr. born October 26, 1922 in Boston, son of Joseph Francis McKeever and Agnes Dolan McKeever, died in Westborough, Mass. on October 9, 2012. Joe's wife of 64 years, Virginia Holbrook McKeever, died this past February. Joe is survived by 3 children, Joseph Francis McKeever, III of Washington, DC and his wife Janice; Richard Paul McKeever, of Buxton, Maine and his wife Teresa; and Nancy Anne Ruhl of Westborough, Mass. and her husband Edward and 5 grandchildren: Jonathan McKeever, Kathryn McKeever, Brian Ruhl, Kevin Ruhl, and Matthew Ruhl. Joe's two brothers, John and Paul, predeceased him. Born in South Boston, Joe moved to Braintree as a child and graduated from Braintree High School in 1940. Fascinated by aviation, he was enrolled in aircraft mechanic school in Wilmington, Delaware at the time the United States entered WW II. He enlisted in the US Army Air Force shortly thereafter and trained in Texas, Louisiana and Florida. In 1943 he and his crewmates picked up a B-26 Martin Marauder at the Martin aircraft factory in Baltimore, Maryland and flew it up the East Coast (including a fly-over of his parent's home in Braintree) to Labrador, and eventually to England. Initially stationed in Braintree, England and later at various bases in France, he flew 53 combat missions with the 451st Bomb Squadron in support of allied troops in Europe, including several in the B-26 known as "Flak Bait" which is now housed in the Smithsonian Museum. In 1944, while on a mission over occupied France, Joe survived an air crash caused by antiaircraft fire in which two of his fellow crewmembers died. Returning home to Braintree after his service in Europe, in 1947 Joe married Virginia Holbrook (who had moved into the house next to his parents during the war). Shortly thereafter, he began employment with what was then known as New England Telephone and Telegraph Company where he worked until his retirement in 1985. Joe and Ginny raised their three children in their home in Braintree and lived in Braintree until moving to Westborough in 2005. Joe was a quiet man, but his family and friends greatly enjoyed his dry wit and quick smile. He was extremely devoted to his family. Joe was never happier than when he and his beloved wife (always "Ginny" to him) were together with their children and grandchildren at their home in Braintree or their cottage in Maine. A funeral mass will be held at the Church of St. Clare, 1244 Liberty St., Braintree Highlands on Saturday, October 13 at 10:00 a.m. Visiting hours are omitted. Donations in Joe's memory may be made to the parish of St. Clare where Joe was a member from the time it opened in 1959 until moving to Westborough. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the McMaster Funeral Home, 86 Franklin St. (rt. 37) Braintree. For information and directions please visit www.mcmasterfh.com.
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Published in The Patriot Ledger on October 11, 2012