James Keene

James Keene

1932 - 2024

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Obituary of James Keene

With a life-long interest in music, James A. Keene, PhD, served as professor of music and chairman of the Music Departments at Mansfield State University in Pennsylvania and Western Illinois University. He performed as a violin and viola soloist, in chamber music, and as a conductor. He was the author of the long-running definitive college reference for music educators, History of Music Education in the United States. James was also a faculty member at the University of Vermont and Montana State University. His teaching style was gestalt, with an emphasis on deep physical relaxation.

James received degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan. As a historian and avid reporter, was the author of numerous articles in music journals, served as editor of The Vermont Music News, and was Music Chairman of the Vermont Council on the Arts. He also authored Music and Education in Vermont, 1700-1900 and Giants of Music Education. His degrees fail to reflect the broad intellect and curiosity Jim had for learning. Whether he was editing a score, reading Plato or eastern philosophy, or trying to learn Spanish at 90, he continually strove to learn and grow. He decided to learn to play piano as his violin grew too heavy, practiced up to 3 hours a day during his 80s, and played until just a few months before his death. He was never satisfied with just being able to play Chopin or other art music. He was driven to improve daily.

Later in his life, he began a second career founding Glenbridge Publishing with his wife, Mary, in 1986 and they were in the publishing business for 30 years - retiring at 85 only to begin caring for his wife who then had the early signs of dementia.

Jim was married for 65 years to Mary Bloom Keene, an accomplished pianist, violinist, and violist. They first met in 7th grade orchestra in Detroit, MI. His children, Judi and Anaya, grandchildren Abby Keven, and Emma, and new great grandchild, Ari, celebrate his life.


An inurnment service in honor of James will be held at Emanuel Cemetery on Thursday, March 7 2024 at 10:00am. Livestream available on Feldman Mortuary's YouTube channel.

The family of James will be sitting Shiva immediately following the service at the home of Judi Keene; 3254 S. Detroit St. Denver, CO 80210



10:00 am - 11:00 am
Thursday, March 7, 2024
Emanuel Cemetery within Fairmount Cemetery
430 S. Quebec Street
Denver, Colorado, United States

Shiva/Condolence Calls

Location: Home of Judi Keene Address: 3254 S Detroit St Denver, CO 80210 Time: After the service on 3/7