It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of John Keenan, better known to friends and family alike as Joe. He was taken ill on Sunday 5th April and died on the following Tuesday. He will be deeply missed by his wife Chris, children Tim, Julie and Nick, daughter-in-law Nessa and grand-daughter Amy. Our heartfelt sympathies go to Chris and her family.
His untimely death came as a great shock to his vast circle of friends. He was once described as "that little person with a huge character". This indicated the esteem in which he was held by everyone who came into contact with him. An ebullient personality, he always had a joke to tell and a smile on his face which enabled him to make friends easily.
Joe will be sorely missed in sporting circles not only in Rugby but throughout Warwickshire. He was a member of the Warwickshire Society of Referees for nearly thirty years. His enjoyment of the game of Rugby was infectious and he would often take the heat out of the most tense situations with a joke and a smile. His popularity with rugby clubs was such that he was always in demand as an after-dinner speaker. Following his retirement as a referee he was elected to the Warwickshire RFU to represent the rugby clubs from Rugby & District, a position he was holding when he died. In the late eighties he was elected Chairman of the Sports Council for Rugby, a post he held for a number of years. Joe was an active member of the Old Laurentian Society and served as President in 1980-81.
However it is for his long and close association with the Old Laurentians RFC that Joe will be most remembered, and where the loss will be most keenly felt. Joe had been with the club for forty years, throughout which time he worked ceaselessly in a variety of roles. He started off as a lad by stoking the boilers to make sure the players had a hot bath after the game. He organised trips to Twickenham and tours to Cornwall. He was always one of the first to volunteer for working parties that helped build the base for today's successful club. He was club Chairman for nine years during which time the club made great strides forwards. He was a member of the Laurentian Sports & Social Club committee for many years. Not satisfied with all that, Joe organised the annual Guy Fawkes bonfire and fireworks night, which attracted thousands over the years.
Joe was the first aid man for the first team for many years, a job he loved. It is somehow appropriate that he was carrying out this role during a County Cup semi-final against Broadstreet RFC when he became ill.
Despite all of the roles he fulfilled during his time at the club, it is for his friendship that will be remembered and deeply missed by every Old Laurentian.