Aug. 3, 1857 - April 23, 1912
|Dr. S. S. Keener was the son of the late Bishop John C. Keener and Mary Spencer. He was born in the city of New Orleans August 3, 1857; and passed away peacefully on the morning of April 23, 1912, attended by his devoted wife, affectionate niece, and many faithful friends.
He received his education at Centenary College of Louisiana and at Wofford College, in South Carolina, having a degree of Doctor of Divinity conferred by Emory College, j Oxford, Ga. He united with the Louisiana Conference and was assigned to work at Alexandria in 1879. His labors and service are only indicated by the appointments he has filled in the State: In 1880, Patterson and Morgan City, being in that year admitted into full connection; in 1881-82, Lafayette (then Vermillionville) ; 1883, Mansfield; :884, Lake Charles; 1885-86, Rayne and Plaquemine Brulee; 1886-88, presiding elder of Opelousas (now Lafayette) District; 1889, Morean Street, New Orleans; 1890, Plaquemine and Donaldsonville; 1891, Rayne Memorial, New Orleans; 1892-94, First Church, Baton Rouge; 1895, Amite City; 1896, Dryads Street, New Orleans; 1897-1900, presiding elder of New Orleans District; 1901, presiding elder of Baton Rouge District; 190203, presiding elder of Crowley (now Lafayette) District. He was also a delegate to the General Conference, which convened at Dallas, Tex., in 1902. In 1904 he served Jackson and Ethel. In 1905 he asked for the supernumerary relation, feeling already the premonitions of the relentless malady, which ultimately caused his death. In 1906-07 he was again in active service, filling the charge at Morgan City. In 1908 he became presiding elder of the Monroe District, which appointment he held when he received the last summons, April 23, 1912.
Dr. Keener was twice married. In 1880 he was united in marriage to Miss Anna Boatner, of
Ouachita Parish. She was a noble soul, and their married life was lovely to the end, which came at her death, in 1906. His second marriage was to Miss Evelyn Wright, of Auburn, Ala., which happy union was severed by his death.
His love for the Church of his Lord was manifested by a generous legacy to the annuity loan fund of the General Board of Church Extension, testifying at the same time his attachment and devotion to his beloved wife, who lives to mourn so great a loss.
The name of Keener is inseparably woven into the fabric of Louisiana Methodism. While it is a sad truth that there is now no living descendant of the late Bishop John C. Keener bearing that honored name which is locked up in the archives of God, it is still true that the labors and benefactions of the Keeners for the Church they loved so dearly will live in the memory of Methodist people as long as Methodism survives. His influence was actively and widely felt in the educational, financial, and other progressive movements of the Church.
He possessed some characteristics which were unique and peculiarly his own. He was strong in his convictions and positive in the assertion of them; thoroughly and rigidly orthodox, adhering strictly to the standards in both his personal faith and the gospel that he preached. He was absolutely uncompromising with evil, decidedly pronounced in his utterances, and was unyielding when a question of moral truth was presented to him. He was a true and devoted friend, willing to go to any length for one to whom he was really attached, except when it came in conflict with the interests of the Church. He was outspoken and never dissembled; everybody knew where he stood. He was endowed with a strong personality, combined with marked intellectual gifts. His perception was frequently quick as a stroke of lightning, his logic accurate, his vision broad, and oftentimes he swept an entire field of thought in an instant.
Those who sat under his ministry readily discerned the one aim of his sermons—the exaltation of Christ. His whole pulpit thought seemed to be dominated by the words of his Master: "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." No strange fire burned on the altar, no unbeaten oil illumined the sanctuary when he ministered in holy things.
The home life and generous hospitality of Dr. Keener added charms to his many other noble qualities. Here he was seen at his best. He was never forgetful of his friends and loved ones. Notwithstanding his firm and decided temperament and pronounced views, he was as tender as a woman in his consideration for those whom he loved. During his last illness his faith remained unshaken, and he was thoroughly reconciled to the will of his Master. The last conscious act of his life was to elevate his hands, pronounce the apostolic benediction over a world from which he was fading away as he was being translated into the "house of many mansions." "And there was silence for a moment in heaven, and a new voice was added to God's choir."
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1912, pages 69-70, by C. C. Miller.|