Paul Keenan was born on November 15, 1920 in Albany, son of P.A. and Martha (Mattie) Wilkerson Keenan. He graduated from Albany High School in 1937; from Baylor School, Chattanooga, TN in 1938; from Emory University in 1942. He served both in the enlisted forces and as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II and returned to Emory to obtain a law degree.
Paul met his future wife, Lucile Dennison Wells, in an early morning law school class. On July 7, 1948, he and Lucile married, and he welcomed her daughter Jere into the Keenan family.
He and G. Stuart Watson, old Emory classmates and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brothers, formed the Albany law firm Watson & Keenan in 1948.
As years passed, the declining health of P.A. Keenan, Paul’s father, pulled him into the senior Keenan’s business affairs, and he left the law firm to head up Keenan Auto Parts, Co. and its affiliates, currently units of the CARQUEST organization.
Elected to the Dougherty County Commission in 1965 and made its chairman by vote of that body, Keenan faced the fact that Albany and Dougherty County were not eligible to share any federal funds for street and highway construction or improvement. A planning agency with a qualified director in a funded office was required. The county commission authorized Keenan to invite the city commission to join in establishing such an agency and funding an office and director. Albany accepted.
Paul Keenan was elected Mayor of Albany in 1993 and re-elected two years later, so serving during the flood of 1994, the greatest natural disaster in Albany history.
He was a longtime member of the Albany Kiwanis Club and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
He is survived by his wife, Lucile Dennison Keenan, daughter Jere Wells Keenan Brands and her husband Harold, sons William Paul Keenan, Alexander Stuart Keenan, and Dr. David Louis Keenan and his wife Kelly; grandchildren Ed, David and Peter Brands, John and Jean Keenan, Bill, Kyle, Caroline and Colleen Keenan; great-grandchildren Lucile Roze and Cyrus Paul Bransel. He is also survived by his daughter-in-law Fran Knight; his brother Walter R. Keenan and his wife Mary, brother-in-law Dr. David Dennison and his wife Katharine, sister-in-law Jean Dennison Brooks, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Paul Keenan has donated his body to the Emory University School of Medicine. A memorial service will be held in Albany at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make memorials to: the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI – Albany, 2213 Chapman Rd. Albany, GA 31707; Albany Salvation Army, PO Box 1436, Albany, GA 31702; Darton College Foundation: Servant Leadership Program, 2400 Gillionville Rd., Albany, GA 31707.
You may sign the online guestbook and share your own thoughts with the family of Paul Keenan by visiting Kimbrell-Stern’s website at www.kimbrellstern.com.