Obituaries for Wed., Jan. 5, 2011

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Viola May Gross, 85, of Andalusia, passed away Thurs., Dec. 30, 2010.

Funeral services will be held 2 p.m., today, Wed., Jan. 5, 2011, at New Hope Lutheran Church with Pastor Allen Kramp and the Rev. Carl Turman officiating and Keahey Funeral Home directing.

The family will receive friends one hour prior to services at the church.

Survivors include daughter, Sharon Gross (Marion) Rucker of Golconda, Ill.; two sons, Keith Edward (Linda) Gross of Mooresville, Ind., and Kenneth Wayne Gross of Avon, Ind.; grandchildren, Richard Martin Rucker, Laura Lee English, Kenneth Russell Rucker, Marion “Shannon” Rucker Leonard, Megan Gross Pinckard, Patricia Lee Gross Henry, Kimberly Gross and Kenneth Allen Gross; one step-grandchild, Vickie Renee Rucker Myrick; 16 great-grandchildren; four step-great-grandchildren; seven step-great-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Kenneth Edward Gross, and husband of 10 years, Clayton Randolph Miller; parents, Louis H. Jetter and Mary Ida Benicker Jetter; brother, Lawrence Martin Ridings; and sister, Dorothea Desson.

To leave online condolences, please sign the guest book for this family at


The Rev. Claude Keenam, 82, of Andalusia, died Fri., Dec. 31, 2010, in the Opp Nursing Home.

Funeral services were held Tues., Jan. 4, at the First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Tim Trent and the Rev. Jim Batchelor officiating and burial following at Macedonia Cemetery in Rose Hill. Foreman Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

The Rev. Keenam served 20 years in the U.S. Army, with overseas tours of duty in Italy, Germany, Alaska and Korea. After returning to the states from Germany in 1963, he served as professor of military science in the ROTC department of the University of Tennessee and later at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tenn.

After his retirement from the army with the rank of sergeant major, he and his family moved to Andalusia, where he helped establish the ROTC department at Andalusia High School and taught ROTC for 13 years.

In 1974, he entered the ministry of the United Methodist Church. His first appointment was the Opp Memorial Charge, which included Liberty United Methodist Church and later Macedonia United Methodist Church.

In 1981, he retired from the Andalusia City School System to enter the ministry fulltime. He was appointed to the newly organized Lillian United Methodist Church in Lillian, in the Pensacola, Fla., District, where the 50-member congregation was meeting in a Catholic chapel. Under his 13-year leadership, the congregation built a sanctuary, parsonage and fellowship hall. When he retired in 1994, the membership had grown to approximately 300.

Four months after retirement, he accepted a supply appointment at First United Methodist Church of Opp where he served for nine months; at the Friendship United Methodist Church in Georgiana, for one year, and the West End-Red Level Charge for nine years. His failing eyesight forced him to retire again at the close of 2004.

In 2005 and using computer software that magnified and read his work back to him, he started work on his first Christian mystery-adventure novel. It was published in 2008. Three sequels are also in publication and the fifth is expected to be released in 2012.

Survivors include his wife, Nina Keenam of Andalusia; his daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Mike Mott of Andalusia; his son, Kerry Keenam of Opelousas, La.; his grandchildren, Melissa Mott, Zac Keenam and Kye (Amanda) Keenam; his great-grandchildren, Anna and Erica Keenam; three sisters and brothers-in-law, Mary and Billy Cole and Ida Lee and Vernon Joiner, all of Birmingham, and Joan Ann and Kenny Eaton of Marietta, Ga.

Those unable to attend the services may sign the guest registry online at