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Obituary - Verna Mae Keefer

Verna Mae (Mathes) Keefer, age 96, of North Canton, Ohio, passed away Sunday morning, April 30, at The Pines Nursing Home. She was born January 21, 1910 in Canton, daughter to the late Harry Gibson and Bessie Edna (Goss) Mathes. She was a 1927 graduate of McKinley High School and graduated from Canton Actual Business College. She had been employed with the Frankham Brass and Bronze Company until her marriage to Donald Keefer of Keefer's Grocery and Meat Market. She was the past organist of Grace Evangelical and First Lutheran Church.

Keefer began playing the organ for horse shows in the 1940’s when her children started showing Saddlebreds. Her career continued through the late 1990’s. She played throughout the country, most often in Columbus, Ohio, where she was a member of the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame. She had played for such celebrities as Arthur Godfrey and Wayne Newton throughout her career.

Keefer was retired from O'Neil's Department Store where she had been in charge of the piano and organ department, retiring in 1975 following 25 years of service.


She was preceded in death by her husband Donald L. Keefer; son James K. Keefer; daughter Kay Keefer Kovesci and daughter-in-law Carol J. Keefer. She is survived by her son, Jon G. Keefer of Canton; son-in-law Louis Kovesci; daughter-in-law Marilyn Johnson; niece Donna Fauss; six grandchildren, Jeff Keefer, Jon Keefer, Kathy Lamp, Holly Pike, Debbie Blyer, Karen Stock; eleven great grandchildren, Ryan, Chad, Kendran Keefer, Trisha Parker, Kelsey and Tommy Pike, Austin, Madison and Lyndsay Blyer, Justin and Kaitlin Stock.

Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 11:00a.m. in the Reed Funeral Home North Canton Chapel, 801 Pittsburg Ave. N.W. North Canton, Interment will be in Forest Hill Cemetery. Calling hours will be held Wednesday evening from 6-8 p.m. in the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Grace United Methodist Church, 1720 Schneider Street NW, North Canton, Ohio 44720.

The family wishes to express their gratitude to the caring staff at the Pines Nursing Home where she had resided for the past two years.  

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