James Delbert Keys of Central Square passed away peacefully on November 13, 2021 he was 87 years old.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife Jeanne Keys . He was also preceded in death by 5 of his children. Jim was a loving father to his 14 children and stepchildren and devoted grandfather to 50+ grandchildren and great grandchildren. Jim was cared for in recent years by his stepdaughter Linda who lived with him .
Jim was born in Morrisville, New York where he was a star on his high school basketball team. At 6'8" tall he would go on to play college basketball for Morrisville and Fort Wayne. His Fort Wayne coach was the former coach of the Fort Wayne Pistons of the American Basketball Association Professional basketball league. His college team would scrimmage the professional team which would become the Detroit Pistons .
Jim went into construction after college and started his own roof truss business called Empire Homes which he ran for 25 years. He then took a position as a successful sales person with P an R truss Company of Auburn, New York for the next 30 years. He loved the outdoors and was a member of the Goose Pond Fishing and Game Club in Harrisville, New York, where he would take his family on many winter and summer getaways. Jim was a terrific athlete and continued to play competitive basketball into his 50s . He participated in the Empire Games in his 50s with his former college teammates from Morrisville. Jim also enjoyed bowling and played in leagues for many years. His mother was a pianist and worship leader in the methodist church and he would go on to be an accomplished trumpet player. Jim would play at parties to entertain friends.
Jim’s greatest joy was his family. With seven children, seven stepchildren, and 50+ grand children and great grandchildren he was always entertaining someone at the house or at his backyard pool. The grandkids would come by for prom pictures, birthdays, etc. Jim would buy Hess trucks for them all every Christmas. It got so he had to go to several stores to buy the Hess trucks, as at one point, he needed over 25 trucks! A kind and gentle man who was easy to be around Jim was loved by all who knew him. He will be deeply missed by all of us as he was the Patriarch for our large family.
Calling Hours will be held on Sunday, November 21, 2021, 11 am to 1 pm, at Traub Funeral Home in Central Square, followed by a Memorial Service at 1:30 pm, at the American Legion in Central Square. Burial will be held privately in Woodlawn Cemetery.