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Updated: 06/27/2014 08:00:02AM

Barbara M. Keyes

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Barbara M. (nee Walker) Keyes of Wauwatosa, Wis., and North Port, Fla., entered eternal life Monday, June 23, 2014.

She was born in 1932.

Barbara was united in Holy Matrimony on May 5, 1951, with William, who has awaited her arrival in Heaven since Feb. 24, 2012. In 1977, Barbara earned her RN Degree from MATC, and a certificate in Parish Nursing from Marquette University in 1995. At 45, Barbara began her professional nursing career later than most, but she quickly realized her talents as a leader. She founded the WI Alzheimer’s Disease & Research Disorders Association (ADRDA), the WI Alzheimer’s Information & Training Center (WAITC), and was a member of the team that created the first Alzheimer’s Daycare Program in the United States. Her efforts effected program development nationally and internationally.

When Bill’s health problems forced relocation to Florida in 1996, she carved another remarkable career as a Parish Nurse at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, Fla. She continued her tireless devotion and genuine concern for everyone, and would enlist the expertise of her children and friends as she delegated and inspired their efforts.

Barbara’s final journey began this spring, when she faced the diagnosis of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma with courage, love, dignity, grace, and an urgency to plan every detail of her funeral, save this obituary. She enjoined those she met in admiration by explaining how she did not fear death. This powerful woman kept tight the reins until her final breath; knowing her earthly work was finished, she met Our Lord. We will miss her terribly, but know her spirit remains to comfort and inspire us. “Buen Camino.”

Their marriage was blessed with eight children, Dr. Maureen (Ron Taylor) Keyes, Michael (Janis), Kathryn (Michael O’Dell), Peggy (Steve Koszalka), Eileen (Gregg Wernsman), Kevin (Lisa), the Rev. Dr. Patrick Keyes, C.Ss.R, and Erin (Jay Orlowski). Survivors also include 14 grandchildren, Eric Graff, Matthew Schotting, Patrick Keyes, Christian and William O’Dell, Madeline and Daniel Wernsman, Meghan, Eamonn, Molly and Claire Keyes, and Nicholas, Haley and Michael Orlowski; two great-grandchildren; Barbara’s special friend, Stephanie Sue Stein; siblings, Phillip, Rose, Margaret and Jeannine; sisters-in law, Connie, Eileen, Fran, Chris and Jean; nieces and nephews; and innumerable friends. Barbara was preceded in death by six grandchildren, Ryan and Stephen Keyes, Sean O’Dell, Kaitlin, Stephen and Hannah Wernsman; sister, Pattie Wilke; and brother-in-law, Bob Keyes.

Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a Vigil Service at 7 p.m., today, Friday, June 27, 2014, at Rozga-Walloch Funeral Home in Milwaukee, Wis. Celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 28, 2014, at Christ King Catholic Church, 2612 N. Swan Blvd., Wauwatosa. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

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