Obituary – Joseph Michael Keating (1937 – 2006)

Joseph Michael Keating, 69, of Nanticoke, formerly of Larksville and Plymouth, passed away Saturday.

Born on July 13, 1937, he was a son of the late John Paul and Catherine Farrell Keating. He graduated from Larksville High School in 1955, and studied business at Wilkes-Barre Business College, and focused on writing at Rider College.

Mr. Keating was the founder and motivating force of the Anthracite Living Historical Group and the Avondale Disaster Site Preservation Committee. Working with Plymouth Township officials and volunteers and Robert Hushes of EPCAMR, he made the Avondale Disaster Site accessible. His 15 years of researching the facts, stories and mysteries of our anthracite heritage was particularly important in the re-evaluation of the cause of the Avondale Disaster of 1869. He made public presentations and co-authored several papers about the Avondale Disaster and was working on a book, which is scheduled to be published next spring on his findings.

His first book, “A Report With Honor,” a story about volunteers and soldiers who served in the Civil War from Luzerne and surrounding counties, was published in May 2006. “Anthracite Tears,” youth fatalities from 1870 to 1920, is due to be published this year. It is a compelling documentation of those dangerous times. Several other books, “Smashed Dinner Pails,” two volumes dealing with mine accidents, fatalities and tragedies; “Someday,” the dilemma following the dynamiting of a Glen Alden pay car, were near completion.

He provided interpretive displays at various area functions that were designed to encourage knowledge and appreciation of anthracite heritage. A passionate love of his family and lifelong interest in local history brought him to a position of eminence in this field. His vast collection of paper and material culture is a testament to his tenacity and love of his area’s history.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Jack.

Surviving are his wife, Lucille Keating; daughters Laura Keating, Leona Suchar and Lucille Keating; grandchildren Lacy Keating, Robert Judzikowski, Shane Suchar and Rylee Wilpiszewski. Also surviving are brothers Frank and James, and sisters Kay Keating and Marie Partington.

The funeral will be held Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. from the S.J. Grontkowski Funeral Home, 530 W. Main St., Plymouth, with a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Vincent De Paul Church. Friends may call today from 5 to 9 p.m.

Published in the Times Leader on 10/23/2006.

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