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Willis Riggs Keene, M.D., beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother, died on Tuesday, November 12. He was eighty one. Dr. Keene practiced medicine in Camden County for the past 23 years. Previously, he had practiced in Charlton County since 1975. Dr. Keene was Professor of Medicine and Co-Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Florida
College of Medicine. He was on the faculty of the University of Florida starting in 1968, during which time he was Chairperson of the Jacksonville Division of the University of Florida Department of Medicine. He was promoted to Co-Chair of the Department and given responsibility for clinical patient care and the educational programs of the Department of Medicine in Jacksonville and Gainesville, FL. Prior to joining the University of Florida, Dr. Keene practiced internal medicine at the Lahey Clinic in Boston, MA. Dr. Keene attended college at Emory University and went to the Johns Hopkins Medical School. He trained in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the National Cancer Institute, and Harvard. He conducted research in hematology at the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory of Harvard Medical School and was certified by the American Boards of Internal Medicine and Hematology. Dr. Keene explained his decision to practice rural medicine as follows: Mrs. Keene and I decided we wanted to live in a rural area for our own personal enjoyment, but especially so that our children could enjoy the pleasures of growing up in a small town, just as I did. Not so far in the back of my mind was the need for someone to alert medical school students and faculties to the medical needs of rural communities. I hope to playa small role in this by precept and example. Always a curious person with a deep respect for education, Dr. Keene was passionate about his patients and the practice of medicine, including training new physicians. When he retired from active medical practice in 2009, he focused on his many other passions: stewardship of Halifax. Farm on the Satilla River where he grew up, baling hay, carpentry, gardening, and planting live oaks. Dr. Keene had four siblings, five children, and four grandchildren. Allison Memorial Chapel of St. Marys was in charge of arrangements.