Clara Mae McKeown, 86, died Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, at Maple Manor Nursing Home in Rochester, Minn. Funeral services are at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the original Macken Funeral Home chapel in Rochester, Minn. Visitation is one hour prior to the funeral. Interment is at Oakwood Cemetery, Rochester, Minn. Macken Funeral Home is handling the arrangements, and online condolences are welcome at mackenfuneralhome.com.
Clara Mae McKeown was born May 30, 1927, in Fort Atkinson to William L. and Mary Ann (Malek) Hyke. Clara attended Our Lady of Lourdes School in Lourdes. Clara married Ivadore Becker and they gifted the world with their lovely daughter, Darlene Elnora, in 1942. Clara went on to marry Christopher Stokas, whom she married twice. In 1964, Clara married the love of her life, Thomas McKeown (with the U.S. Army and later an electrician from Chatfield, Minn.) and they moved to Richfield/Bloomington, Minn. Clara lived a life of luxury, happiness and commitment to her family. She enjoyed her soap operas and was the first person anyone in the family could count on for a helping hand. Clara was fire and ice -- she was the person you most wanted to stand next to, play with and have fun with. During WW2 and the Korean Conflict, Clara was a cigarette girl and an accomplished swing and ballroom dancer. Clara loved entertaining the troops and they enjoyed her sweet figure, happy attitude and vivacious spirit. In later years, Clara became known for her "break dance" moves -- whirling around the dance floor and "cutting the rug" with her much younger grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Clara was a very social person who loved visiting with people and chatting on the phone. She liked old movies from the '40s-'60s, Rat Pack music (and their current clones), Lawrence Welk and 'Dancing With the Stars' on TV. Most of all, Clara adored being with her family, especially her daughter and grandchildren.
Two sisters and one brother survive Clara: Jane Hudson of Cresco, Genevieve Buker of Cresco and Charles Hyke of Waterloo. Also surviving are her cherished grandchildren: Katherine (Greg) Lewis, Leesburg, Fla., Daniel Gray, Rochester, Minn., Dr. Gerald (Kerry) Gray, Rochester, Minn. and Jennifer (Zachary) Resch of Kasson, Minn. Clara leaves behind five devoted great-grandchildren: Andrew Gray, Cameron Gray, Sydney Gray, Katelyn Harrington and Jack Harrington; and two adorable step-great-grandchildren, Gretchen Resch and Will Resch. Her nieces, Bernice Ollendieck of Cresco, Shirley Berglund of Denver, Colo., Marion Samec of Cedar Rapids and nephews, Robert Hyke of Phoenix, Ariz. And James Hruska of Cresco, as well as several other nieces and nephews also survive.
Preceding her in death were her parents; a still-born infant daughter; and her beloved daughter, Darlene O'Byrne (2003). She also was preceded in death by husband, Thomas E. McKeown (2010) and four brothers: Benjamin, Leonard, William and Clem Hyke; and several nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. One sister predeceased her, Agnes M. Driscoll.
Clara was a pistol, and the entire family will miss her kind and loving spirit forever. Go get 'em in Heaven Clara!