John Leslie Keefer was born December 11, 1924 in Vancouver, Washington to Bill and Winona Keefer and passed away peacefully on his 96th birthday, December 11, 2020. John was raised in Carlton and Eugene, Oregon. He attended Carlton schools through his freshman year of school and then transferred to Eugene High School where he graduated in 1943. Following graduation, he served in the US Army and was involved in combat in France and Germany during World War II. After the war, he married Alwanda Horton in 1947 and together they had six sons, John Jr., Melvin, Roger, Robert, Loren, and Roy. John worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad for 44 years as a conductor/brakeman.
John married Patricia Phearson on December 9, 1961 at the family farm on Maple Drive in Junction City, Oregon adding her six children to the family: Skip, Michael, Howard, Patrick, LeAnn and Roger. With several kids under one roof it was a busy time for John and Pat as they made sure their kids were involved in school sports and programs, scouts, church and other activities.
On July 31, 1979, John married Wanda Larkin Freeman in Reno, Nevada. He welcomed her four sons into the family: Terry, John, Jerry, and Ronny. John and Wanda enjoyed spending summers at their home in Waldport, Oregon and bought a second home in Apache Junction, Arizona where they spent their winters. They enjoyed traveling and belonged to several clubs and organizations. He was involved with the Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society in Toledo, Oregon where the caboose at the museum is named after him.
After 40 years of marriage, his beloved wife Wanda passed away on August 1, 2019. He is survived by his sons, John (Shirley), Melvin (Lorraine), Roger (Trish), Robert (Christi), Loren (Heidi), and Roy (Sandy). He is also survived by step-sons Jerry (Ruth), Terry (Teresa), Ron and John Freeman and Michael, Howard (Judy), and Roger (Jeannie) Phearson and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great great grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews.
John was also preceded in death by his brother Harold.
John will be most remembered for his hard work, dedication to all the organizations he was involved with, and most of all, his love for all of his family.
Services will be held later this spring. In honor of John’s life, the family requests that donations be made to: Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society, PO Box 119, Toledo OR 97391. (yaquinapacificrr.org)
Arrangements entrusted to Murphy-Musgrove Funeral Home. Please access the obituary and you are invited to sign the guestbook at musgroves.com.
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