John Oscar Kekec

February 10, 1934 ~ January 13, 2023

John Oscar Kekec of Bonne Terre passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, January 13, 2023, at the age of 88.

John was born February 10, 1934 in Pittsburg, Kansas to Edith Pugh and John Frederic Kekec.  He is survived by Mary Kekec, his wife of 66 years; sister, Ramona Dayhoff; children, Ed (Bev), Stan (Cindy), Donna Wayne (Mark), Larry (Dawn); 12 grandchildren, Brian, Amanda, Jon, David, AJ, Susie, Elle, Jana, Kourtney, Karson, Karter and Kooper and 11 great grandchildren along with numerous nieces and nephews.  

He was an athlete, US Army veteran, engineer, professor and author. His athletic ability and love of baseball always included a family favorite story of the time he threw out Mickey Mantle and received an offer to play for the Cincinnati Reds. He enlisted in the Army in 1954. After serving his country, he pursued a degree in engineering.  He worked in the aerospace industry during summers while teaching at Mineral Area College. In retirement, John’s appetite for reading and passion for writing led him to become an established author. His publications included historical fiction, theory, family history and poetry.

John loved the outdoors, fishing, hunting, and working with his bird dogs.  John and Mary enjoyed bird watching and shared a love of genealogy, which led to several treasured co-authored books. He avidly attended family events and valued relationships with family and friends over anything else.

Visitation will be held at C.Z. Boyer and Son Funeral Home, 313 Benham St, Bonne Terre, MO on Saturday, January 21, 2023 from 2:00pm until time of Service at 5:00pm with Pastor Chuck Lotz officiating. A graveside family and Veteran service will take place Sunday, January 22, 2023 2:00pm at Union Cemetery in Galena, Kansas. Please send donations, in lieu of flowers, to Mineral Area College/MAC Foundation. 

Arrangements are under the direction of C.Z, Boyer and Son Funeral Home is Bonne Terre. View obituary and share condolences online at

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Memories Timeline


  1. Sending Peace and Hugs. Trees Planted has been Planted In Loving Memory of John Oscar Kekec courtesy of Pam, Peter, Kami & Kody

  2. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. We are so sorry for your loss.
    Susan & Phillip Moser

  3. To the Kekec Family, John and all of you are in our prayers. Annette and I were fortunate enough to be friends with the entire family, and a wonderful family at that. Our deepest condolences for your loss.

  4. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Donna, I hope you find comfort in all of the great memories you have about your dad.

  5. John and his Mary were loved and admired by all.  John was a scholar and a gentleman and a friend to everyone.  I treasured all of our conversations which always covered many topics; especially, his beloved family!  And what a smile . . . it was surpassed only by his big, beautiful heart.  I am very sad to learn of his passing and am sending love, hugs, and prayers to all of his wonderful family that I love so much.  May God hold all of you in the palm of His hand and give you peace.  

  6. It was with great sorrow we heard of John's passing today.
    John and Marry welcomed us into the Neiborhood 25 years ago. We enjoyed visiting with them while watching our kids playing with their grandkids. I would often talk to them during my walks. May God comfort the family during this time of loss.

  7. So very sorry for the loss of your dad Stan & family, Donna,& Larry& family thinking of you all in this time of sorrow. You all are in my thoughts & prayers

  8. To all the Kekec family. I am so sorry for your loss. We loved John and Mary and enjoyed being their neighbors. We will be making a donation to MAC in his honor. Hotrod had him at MAC and I am sure that John could tell some tales! Sending all our love. I wish we were there to attend the service. I chose the smallest candle because it had the brightest light! Shine on, John!

  9. John and I both started teaching in the Technology Department at MAC in 1968. We spent many years working together up to his retirement, and throughout that time John was the educator I looked up to. He had a special ability to bring out the best in students and could be counted on to help them when they needed help finding a job.

  10. Sorry to hear of John’s passing. I have fond memories of our times in GIRARD. I lost Isobel in April of 2021. I was a fellow teacher at GHS and always enjoyed John’s fellowship & guidance. I especially remember some of our nights out in the Joplin area. We all loved to dance. I know he will be missed. May he rest in peace .

    Jim Bartelli

  11. While we never had the honor of meeting Mr Kekec we have been honored to be neighbors with Larry so we know he was a great man. I want to thank you sir for your service to this grateful nation along with to your community. You touched lives through your 88 years on this earth that you never knew you touched. May your memory be forever eternal. To the Kekec family please know that we will be praying for you during this time. 

  12. Condolences to all the Kekec family. We were so sorry to hear of John's passing. We have much respect and warm feelings for him and Mary and enjoyed reading one of John's books, Fire in the Hole. We had the pleasure of having two of his children, Donna and Larry in our classes at North County. We pray for all the family that God will bring you peace and comfort at this time.

  13. Larry I am at Clydes and just asked about John and Mary. I'm so sorry. I had no clue. When I come back to visit again, I'll make her a loaf of sourdough and bring it to your house so you can give it to her for me. Probably should make one for y'all too. Hopefully I will get to see her this summer on the porch, and visit with her. Love, Kelly

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