Cover photo for Colleen Ann Keane's Obituary
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1949 Colleen Ann Keane 2023

Colleen Ann Keane

June 3, 1949 — October 26, 2023

Colleen Ann Keane, 74, beloved mother, daughter, and friend, passed away on October 26, 2023. Colleen was born June 3, 1949, in Detroit, Michigan to her father Barney Keane, who was from rural Ireland, and to her mother Jovita Tolksdorf, from a ranch in Montana.

Colleen had a lifelong dedication to working with indigenous rights and advocacy. Since 1973, she worked with native communities throughout the Southwest, including the Navajo Nation, Acoma Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo, Salt River Pima-Maricopa and the Los Angeles Indian Center as a radio and television producer, grant writer, social worker, and teacher.

During the 10 years preceding her death, she was a journalist for the Navajo Times reporting on stories ranging from historical to contemporary issues. During the 1970s, she directed educational programs to implement the Indian Child Welfare Act in an effort to reunite Native American children with their families and tribes while teaching broadcast journalism at the Alamo Navajo and Rock Point community schools in Arizona and New Mexico. In 1987, she wrote, produced, and directed the award-winning film, The River That Harms, an investigative study of the largest radioactive wastewater spill in U.S. history that had taken place on Navajo land.

Colleen is the author of Crashing an American Wake - 'an Irishman's tale of loss, struggle, war, the American dream and promise fulfilled', a book published in 2021 on the life and times of her Irish father Barney and the history of Ireland. Colleen's parting words were 'Go n-ardoidlh an bothar suas chun bualadh leat' - 'May the road rise up to greet you!'

She held two Master's degrees, one in Social Work from Arizona State University and another in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California.

Colleen is survived by her daughter Joanna Keane Lopez of Albuquerque, NM, and her cats, Choo Choo and Chi Chi.

A Mass will be held Friday, November 10, 2023, 10:00 a.m., at the Aquinas Newman Center, with burial following at Fairview Memorial Park Cemetery.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Colleen Ann Keane, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Mass

Friday, November 10, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Burial

Friday, November 10, 2023

11:30am - 12:30 pm (Mountain time)

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