Cornelius Keane Obituary (1944 – 2022) – Marin County, CA



Cornelius Michael Keane January 25, 1944 – March 4, 2022 Describing Cornelius Michael Keane in brief is an impossible task. The most unique person you will ever meet, Cornelius’ life cannot be summed up in even the most basic terms by a minor newspaper account. If you didn’t know him and are still reading this obituary, however, you already share at least one thing in common with our beloved husband, father and Pop-Pop – reading obituaries, or “Irish Sporting Green” ( as he called them), was a morning ritual. Cornelius embodied a host of contradictions, which perhaps explains why he was so endlessly unpredictable and entertaining. He was a peace and love hippie who always found a way to fight; a shop steward with a master’s degree in psychology; a proud Irishman with a fondness for vodka; a sports fanatic with a knack for creating beautiful flower arrangements. Either way, it would be hard to say exactly how he would feel before telling her. But he certainly had opinions on everything – and when you weren’t in the immediate crosshairs of those opinions, his personality was always insightful – with an endless well of humor and love. Proud son of Irish immigrants John and Helen Keane, Cornelius was born and raised in San Francisco. His formative years were spent on the streets of the Eureka Valley, where he learned the invaluable skills of mischief, loyalty, and self-defense – all traits that persisted throughout his life. An active athlete into adulthood, Cornelius participated in various sports in the Eureka Valley – where he developed deep friendships (and rivalries) of which he maintained an encyclopedic knowledge and of which he would tell countless stories to anyone who wanted to listen to it. Cornelius attended Saint Ignatius High School and graduated from Mission High School. He turned his experiences there (and on the streets) into an audition that won him admission to the theater program at San Francisco State University. As a student in San Francisco during the socially charged 1960s, Cornelius was both politically active and socially focused – and, under the tutelage of the late Paul Rebillot, was part of a theater family, The Gestalt Fool. Living in a house later purchased by Francis Ford Coppola, The Fool (as they refer to themselves) performed statewide and, importantly, formed one-on-one bonds between members that persist to this day. Later, moving into a house in Marin County, the members of The Fool eventually traveled in different individual directions. Cornelius bought their communal house in San Anselmo and stayed in that house for the rest of his life. During a remarkable year-long trip through Europe in his early twenties, Cornelius reconnected with his family in Ireland. He frequently regaled his family and friends with tales of his travels, as well as traditional Irish songs. Nearly half a century ago, Cornelius met the love of his life, Jody Prothro, in a chance encounter at the Cliff House in San Francisco. In love with her beauty, Cornelius was quick to take Jody’s hand with his young son and together they created a beautiful, art-filled home that became a space of comfort and entertainment for their family and friends. . Jody and Cornelius were married for 43 years before Cornelius’ recent death. He loved her more than you can imagine. Together they raised Jody’s kind and loving son, Tom; and two incredibly caring and strong daughters, Meagan and Devon. Later in life, Cornelius was active in the Native Sons of the Golden West, where he served as parlor president. He took part in pétanque every week and volunteered for the elections. He was a lifelong basketball coach and referee, found art enthusiast, owner, spinning bard, armchair player, vintage fleet foot dancer – who felt the music even when his feet have stopped working so well. The list is lengthened increasingly. Cornelius was predeceased by his sisters, Patricia and Helen Marie. He is survived by his wife, Jody; his brother, John; his son, Tom Dore; his daughters, Meagan and Devon; his sons-in-law Massimo Pacchione and Christopher Quiroga; and his grandchildren Jacob, Ryan, Conr¡ and Hawk. He will be missed by hundreds of others. Raise a glass. Int. Funeral Mass will be held on March 19, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Rita Catholic Church in Fairfax, California. In lieu of flowers, his family is requesting that donations be made to the Native Sons Scholarship Fund, which Cornelius started: Native Sons Of The Golden West, Fairfax Parlor #307 Scholarship Fund, 135 Mitchell Dr., Fairfax, CA 94930.

Published by Marin Independent Journal on March 13, 2022.

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