Published: June 16, 2020
KENNEBUNK, MAINE – James “Jim” Joseph Keating, III, 73 years, of Kennebunk died May 10, 2020, at Bradford Commons after a long illness. He was surrounded by his wife Francine and his brother Richard when he passed.
Jim loved antiques and he loved the auction business he shared with Richard. Some of their auctions were conducted outside under a tent. Many a night Jim would sleep in the tent, with his Smith & Wesson, protecting the precious items that would be going on the auction block. Eventually, they moved the auctions indoors to a large hall and have conducted the auctions there since then. Jim was last at the auction podium in 2019. When he stepped off the podium, the audience all clapped.
Jim was born October 29, 1946, in Woburn, Mass., the elder son of James and Ann (Peterson) Keating Jr. The family lived in Stoneham, Mass., and Jim’s Dad ran the J.J. Keating Trucking Co. Jimmy would accompany some of the truckers on their daily routes. Even at a young age he had a sense of adventure. Jimmy started working with his father in the antiques and auction business at the ripe age of five and loved antiques and their history from then on.
Jim’s family moved in 1957 to the Elm Haven Farm in Kennebunk on Route 1 North and continued the antiques and auction business in the large white barn. Everyone in the family was involved in helping with the business. Jim spent many days and nights loading and unloading trucks.
Jim graduated from Kennebunk High School in 1964. He then attended Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. Jimmy served his country in the US Army during the Vietnam era in Germany. After his two years in the service, he returned to the family business, working with his father, brother, Richard, and sister, Judy, who helped on appraisals as a gemologist. He worked in the family business for more than 60 years.
On April 11, 1970, Jim married Francine Brent, a Holyoke, Mass., girl. This April, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Jim and Fran traveled all over the world together. Their favorite place in the winter for more than 30 years was the island of little Exuma in the Bahamas, until Jim’s illness made travel impossible for him. They also belonged to an MG touring club and traveled in Fran’s vintage MG all over New England with fellow car members and friends. They journeyed to Cape Cod with good friends every fall and loved to shop and sightsee.
Jim was a great storyteller. He loved to entertain his family, friends and the auction crowd with his knowledge, stories and wit. He definitely could light up a room and make people laugh! Jim had a great knowledge of the Kennebunks and collected local memorabilia. Jim could always give a great local history lesson to new members of the community.
Jim was a Kennebunk Savings Bank director since October 1993, and during his 27-year tenure served on a number of committees, vice chairman and chairman of the board from 2013-2015. Jim also served on the Maine Auction Board for more than 30 years and the Hope Cemetery board. He was an active Rotarian for more than 40 years, loved being the sergeant at arms, and worked many a chicken BBQ. He also served on the Town of Kennebunk Planning Board. Jim enjoyed teaching classes on antiques appreciation for adult education in Kennebunk. Jim was proud to be an Eagle Scout.
In addition to his parents, Jim was predeceased by his sister, Judith Keating. Jim is lovingly remembered by his wife, Francine, of Kennebunk; his brother, Richard, and his wife, Mary, of Kennebunk; his sister, Joanne Keating Johnson, and her husband, Jerry, of Grayton Beach, Fla.; his half-brother, John P. Keating, and his wife, Emily, of Astoria, N.Y.; his nieces, Jillian Johnson, Ann-Catherine Keating and Navah Luxenberg, and nephew James Keating, five stepsisters and many close friends.
Due to precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, a celebration of life and memorial service will be conducted at a later time.
To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, visit Jim’s Book of Memories page at www.bibberfuneral.com.
Arrangements are in care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk, Maine.
It is with deep sadness that I am telling to all that my brother Jim, who I loved so much, passed away on May 10. For all of you who knew Jim, no one could match his energy in a room, and he always gave everyone a reason to smile! He had a great sense of humor and loved telling stories. He always had people’s attention with his knowledge of antiques and worldly events. He was also a prankster, and I truly never knew what he might say or do next! As a brother he was the best. We had great adventures together as kids and as adults.
As an auctioneer he had many auctiongoers coming to our auctions, not just to see what we were selling, but to see Jim at his best, in front of his audience just being himself. I always gained knowledge from him as we spoke.
Once his illness started to take its toll, Jim stopped auctioning and Kent Driscoll ably took to the podium. Jim stayed right in the front with Kent putting his “two cents” in, as he liked to say, to be sure Kent and I knew what we were doing! Jim had been wheelchair bound for his final years, but still stayed involved in the business and called me daily to see what he missed. I know his loving wife Fran and all the Keating family will miss him very much. A memorial service is being planned and we’ll post a date when we know.
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