Hearts Love 10

James G. Keck

May 18, 1947 ~ November 29, 2020 (age 73)

Obituary Image

Obituary

James G. (Jim) Keck, 73, of Forest Park, passed away November 29, 2020. Beloved husband of Bernardo Gaona. Born in Chicago on May 18, 1947 to James W. and the late Gertrude (Trudy) Keck. Loving father of Jason (Crystal Cavalier-Keck). Grandfather of Nicholas Aidan Clark, Owen Geronimo Clark- Keck, Brandon Cavalier-Keck, Catherine Arianna Cavalier-Keck, and Samantha Adrianna Cavalier-Keck. Devoted brother of Diane (John) Radek, Judith Veller, and Michelle (Ronald) Krok. Godfather to Paul Radek and Jennifer Veller. Fond uncle of many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Jim was a survivor of the Our Lady of the Angels School fire in 1958 and a 1965 graduate of Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He received an undergraduate degree from National Louis University and his master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University in Community Counseling. He was also a National Certified Counselor. Jim worked as a high school counselor and then a substance abuse counselor until his retirement in 2012.
From an early age, Jim was active in the civil rights movement in Chicago. He was an organizer in Dr. Martin Luther King’s Chicago campaigns, and from there he became a full-time community organizer, influenced by both Dr. King
and Saul Alinsky. Later, shifting his skills and empathy to the service of individuals, he served as a professional drug and alcohol counselor. Not satisfied to be only a counselor though, he also challenged institutions that too often viewed people with addictions as sources of funding or a corporate commodity.
Jim was proud to be 34 years sober, and grateful to those who helped him at a critical turn in his life. Jim was headstrong, loyal, and compassionate. His lifelong commitment to justice and human dignity touched the lives of thousands of people and will be remembered.
Jim shared his life with Bernardo for almost 30 years during which time they enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and sharing the joys in their life with friends and family. As soon as Jim and Bernardo owned a house, they built a cozy and colorful garden and adopted their first dog Rudy. After Rudy passed, they adopted three more dogs-Ted, Coco and Tina.
Contributions may be made to Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org) or The Anti-Cruelty Society (www.anticruelty.org). A celebration of Jim’s life will be planned for a future date.

 

 

James G. (Jim) Keck, 73, of Forest Park, passed away November 29, 2020. Beloved husband of Bernardo Gaona. Born in Chicago on May 18, 1947 to James W. and the late Gertrude (Trudy) Keck. Loving father of Jason (Crystal Cavalier-Keck). Grandfather of Nicholas Aidan Clark, Owen Geronimo Clark- Keck, Brandon Cavalier-Keck, Catherine Arianna Cavalier-Keck, and Samantha Adrianna Cavalier-Keck. Devoted brother of Diane (John) Radek, Judith Veller, and Michelle (Ronald) Krok. Godfather to Paul Radek and Jennifer Veller. Fond uncle of many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
My father was and will always be my hero. From the stories long spoken of him from those that knew him longest, he had always possessed the ability to be a great leader. He was ever aware of the wrongs perpetuated in society on the poor, the homeless, the uneducated, the little ones, the forgotten ones. His ability to speak on any Top issue was remarkable, but his eloquence with the written word was astonishing. He was a lover of humankind, though he may not always have seen himself this way, an advocate for victims of injustice since his early activism along-side Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights movement in Chicago. He always questioned the inequities that he saw, yearning to help anyone less fortunate than himself. His empathy was a true gift, he saw people beneath and beyond race, class, orientation, and gender identities. He saw humanity, his love for all was large and truly awesome.
People from all walks of life gravitated toward him, cared about him, wanted him in their lives. He had been through the fires of life and stepped out a diamond. A father I will always honor, a friend that all his friends will always crave, a defender and healer of souls that had struggles, and succeeded to heal himself. I love and honor my dad, and cherish him deeply. The man that he became will forever be an example for me to use always.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James G. Keck, please visit our floral store.


Services

You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of James G. Keck
© 2021 Zimmerman-Harnett Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy