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November 16, 1943 -
March 1, 2019

Volunteer, activist and advocate JoEllen Day Keating, formerly of Mount Vernon, died March 1 in Washington, DC, of lung cancer. She was 75.

JoEllen was known for her zest for life, her sense of adventure, her commitment to her community, and her advocacy for the dignity and inclusion of all individuals. She was a tireless volunteer on behalf of persons with disabilities and a devoted supporter of the historic community of Waterford, VA, which she called home for nearly 40 years.

JoEllen was born November 16, 1943, in Mount Vernon, WA, the daughter of Joe and Helen Day and the middle of five children in a lively postwar household, JoEllen was known in her hometown for her adventurous spirit, and built friendships that she maintained throughout her life.

JoEllen attended the University of Washington before joining the newly established Peace Corps in 1965, spending two years in rural Panama. The experience ignited her lifelong love of Latin American culture and the Spanish language.

When she returned to the Pacific Northwest, JoEllen attended Western Washington University in Bellingham. She met her first husband, the late John R. Schroeder there. After their marriage, the couple packed up their Volkswagen Beetle and moved to the East Coast for John's job with the Library of Congress in Washington.

JoEllen worked in regional development for the Organization of American States during their early days in the D.C. area. She and John and their two daughters made a home and many friends in Alexandria and Leesburg, VA.

After her first marriage ended in divorce, she married Joseph W. Keating III, and moved to the historic village of Waterford, VA, in the early 1980s. Joe and JoEllen had two daughters. The family's historic home was the setting for countless family celebrations for four decades. Their daughter Nora was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, launching JoEllen's life-long involvement in Loudoun County's disability community.

Following in her mother's footsteps and the competitive spirit in the Day family, JoEllen was an avid and accomplished tennis player. She was also an active, longtime member and former chair of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee.

She shared her joyful enthusiasm for life with her grandchildren, who have wonderful memories of hiking, skiing, beach vacations, justice marches, and family celebrations. She was a constant and supportive presence in their lives.

JoEllen will be much missed by her daughters Janann Schroeder Mercker (Christian) of Lovettsville, VA, Jessica Schroeder (Ron Edwards) of Washington, DC, and Molly Keating Milefsky (Greg) of Richmond; stepchildren Kristen Keating Pauchnik (Brian) of Pittsburgh, PA, and Joseph W. Keating IV of Shepherdstown, WV; and her nine beloved grandchildren.

She is also survived by her brothers James Day of Arizona, John Day (Maria) of Burlington, WA, Donald Day of Mount Vernon, sister Janet Day Minegishi of Tokyo, and six nephews and nieces.

Daughter Nora Keating passed away in 2001, and Joe Keating in 2018.

A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, March 23, at 4 p.m., at the Waterford Old School in VA. A celebration of life will be held in Skagit County this summer.

The family asks that any contributions be made to the ARC of Loudoun in JoEllen's name.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald on Mar. 10, 2019
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