Elizabeth Jordan Keene


Augusta – Elizabeth Jordan “Betty” Keene, 90, formerly of Auburn, died at the Glenridge Nursing Home on Friday, March 31.

Elizabeth Pennell Jordan was born in Portland on June 13, 1915, to the late Henry Irving and Elsie Boody Jordan. She graduated from Deering High School in 1932. She also graduated from the University of Maine in 1936 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. She was a member of the Sigma Mu Sigma national honorary psychological fraternity, and the Pi Beta Phi Sorority, being president her junior year.

Her future husband, Norton Keene, of Turner was president of his fraternity the same year. She was a member of the Young Women’s Christian Association, the Rifle Team, and participated in basketball and held several dormitory and class offices. To build a nest egg, both Norton and Betty worked for two years before getting married.

After graduating from college, she worked in Auburn as a social worker. Betty and Norton were married on July 3, 1938 in Portland. They set up housekeeping in Easton, in Aroostook County, where Norton taught agriculture. Later they moved to Fryeburg, where he continued teaching, and where they lived when son Clifford was born. Soon after this they moved to Auburn, where they lived when second son, David was born. In 1945, they built a camp near Andover, where they spent many happy days on hunting and fishing trips.

In the late 1950s, she took several courses to update her teaching credentials. She taught, and for most of the time until retirement, she was principal of schools run by the Lewiston and Auburn Association for Retarded Children. She received much recognition and several awards related to her caring for her students. Norton died in 1967.

Soon after that she made a trip to Hawaii, primarily to see her new granddaughter, Anita. Later she made numerous trips to Idaho to see Anita and her second granddaughter, Brenda. She especially enjoyed spending time with her grandsons, David and Timothy in Readfield, often to watch them play ball or run track.

After retiring in 1980, she went on numerous trips, often senior citizens trips with friends. She especially enjoyed her trips with Betty Sprague, the mother of her daughter-in-law, Grace. However, she was devastated by the death or her grandson, David in 1989, and her son, David in 1995.

She attended Senior Citizens meetings in Auburn, and volunteered at the Auburn Public Library for many years. She was an active member of the West Auburn Congregational Church until moving to an Alzheimer’s home in 2000.

In addition to her family, she had fond memories of her summers at her uncle’s cottage at Panther Pond in Raymond with her brother Ed and cousin John Edson. She was very active in Campfire Girls and during her early college years, was a camp counselor and was very proficient at water sports.

She is survived by her son, Clifford and his wife, Marlene, of Salmon, Idaho; daughter-in-law, Grace, of Readfield; sister-in-law, Elva Keene, of Maryland; two granddaughters, Anita Williams and husband, Tony, of Manley, New South Wales, Australia and Brenda of Portland, Ore.; and grandson, Timothy of Portland; and several nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband, Norton Keene; brother, Edward C. Jordan; son, David J. Keene; and grandson, David A. Keene.