Cover photo for John Keilman's Obituary
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1945 John 2019

John Keilman

May 26, 1945 — June 21, 2019

John Keilman, 74, died June 21, 2019 at his residence in Brenham.

A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at Calvary Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 8:30 until 9:30 a.m. at Memorial Oaks Chapel, prior to the graveside service.

John is survived by two very, very special sons, William D. (Bill) Keilman and Michael J. Keilman; his little girl, Miss Daisy, a Pug and Beagle mix from the Brenham Shelter and truly an angel sent from heaven. John is also survived by sister, Gerry (Dee Dee) Huff, a very special niece, Susan Schmidtke, very special great niece Lacey Sorrell, and her mother, my niece, Terry Sorrell, and the nicest nephew, John Huff. Special, special friends whom I consider family: Vicky Kenjura, Debbie McGlynn, Susan Aguilar and Cocoa, and John and Geneva Winkelmann and Foxy (Daisy’s new family), who God brought into our lives recently.

John was preceded in death by his wife, Norma Jean, (Jeanie) who loved her sons very much.

The following is an excerpt from John’s special tribute to God:

He (God) has been with me my whole life and has given me the gifts of compassion, empathy, and love of family and friends, perseverance, a positive outlook, and the joys and beauty of nature. I’ve had a good life and traveled the world both in the United States Air Force, business, and with my youngest son, Michael. When I was eleven years old my mother died from breast cancer a week before Christmas. I attended Catholic School, and my faith really took off at that time. God was with me and in my heart.

My wife and I grew up as neighbors in Indianapolis, Indiana, and both of our sons have special needs. My wife found out she had cancer in early 1982 and passed away Christmas Day 1982. Bill had just turned 13, and Michael, 7. I knew it was solely up to me to make my sons’ lives the best possible, but I also knew I would have to do it alone. God was my support and the only thing I prayed and ever asked of him was to give me the strength to care for them. He always answered my prayers. Always! You see, I have never given up on anything. He knew that and the strength to go on was there.

I had worked for a German company as a sales and marketing manager. After my wife became ill in March 1982, I had to quit my job with the German company and worked as a manager for another company in Pasadena until I was let go in Fall of 1982 because I had too many personal issues going on. I had no job, no nanny, and two special needs sons to care for. My older son had explosive behavior (Bi-Polar) and it would be very difficult to find someone to care for him. It would not be easy to find a job, if at all. This was the first time in my life I was really scared and panicking.

Soon after, with the help of an old customer, I was able to start my own company and all of my old customers followed me from the previous company that had fired me. Was this a miracle or what? This was God’s doing because I didn’t ask him to help me. If I had, it would be for strength and fortitude. You can see why I have such strong faith and love for God. He has been with me my whole life.

My youngest son Michael had special needs, but he functioned at a high level. He loved sports and we went to many Houston Rocket games and Astros games. He was their biggest fan. Through Special Ed, Michael worked at IHOP and did a good job. On Mother’s Day 2000, we took my older son Bill back to Brenham State Supported Living Center, and then Michael shut down. He could do nothing for himself. This began many, many months of testing at the Texas Medical Center. The only real answer I got was that the brain is very complicated and we still have much to learn. Michael improved slightly but his mind remembered and still does. He had lived with me for 43 years, but I couldn’t care for him anymore. Michael is now at the Brenham State Supported Living Center with his brother. They are the only family they have. He is improving there somewhat with the help of a great psychiatrist. God gave me the strength to care for him and he has been my support, and I know he will look out for my sons.

I’ve always loved animals. Nine years ago, a neighbor suggested we go to the Brenham Animal Shelter. I went with my youngest son, and as soon as we walked in, I saw Daisy. This was God’s work, too. She is my little angel from heaven. The past nine years with her have been the best and the most happiness I’ve had for a consistent period. She has been my sunshine. When I found out that I was ill, I was thankful to find the right home for her. They love her and she is so happy in their home with two big sisters. Another miracle!

I’ve had bladder cancer since 2012. My biggest fear was leaving my sons alone as I am basically all they have. Again, God intervened and has given me the time to take care of all their future needs.

This tribute to Jesus is the final thing I had to do. I have never in my life been so at peace and happy. It’s because God is still caring for me until the end. Not once in my life has, he ever turned down my prayers in keeping me strong. He knew I never gave up on anything. I also get great comfort in knowing he will be there for my sons as he has brought special people into my life recently who will watch over them too, and also my angel Daisy.

If people will do everything possible for their particular problems and truly believe, I know for a fact that he will be there for them, too. Take action for yourselves and family and loved ones. It’s the people who complain and do nothing for themselves that are the problem, not God.

“Thank you, Jesus! I thank you every day for my faith and Your love. There is absolutely no doubt that You have been with me my whole life. God, I’ve felt it and know it!”

One of the most important things God gave to me was love of nature. I’m basically a homebody and my gardens have been the best therapy and stress reliever for me. Watching flowers and plants grow from small plants and seedlings into magnificent beauty, the birds, butterflies, lizards, etc., are all gifts from God. Along with this support from God, He has given me the strength to carry on.

God knew what my life was going to be at a young age and gave me the tools I would need to be able to handle everything. The only thing that I prayed to Him about was giving me the strength to care for my boys and He has always answered those prayers! I never asked Him to cure them because having Him looking out for them was more than enough. I know that He has been there for them and always will.

Everyone has had serious problems in their lives and if we do everything we can, God will intervene. Sometimes he doesn’t answer our prayers the way we would hope, such as when losing a child to cancer, etc. It may question our faith, but he is God and He has a good reason for this. He is God!

Love is so powerful that we must love our family, especially our children first. We also should love our friends and neighbors. This is the Golden Rule! Also, give complete strangers a smile; compliments make a big difference in someone’s life. I’ve known many people in my life that go to church and try to counsel and proclaim their faith. But in their personal lives they don’t practice what they preach! Hypocrites!

God knows what’s in our hearts; he knows real faith that gets us to heaven. We don’t have to be perfect and none of us are. But the heart shows real faith. The world today is forcing people to not take time for anyone but themselves and not interacting with society in general and that is so sad. “Jesus! What You did for humanity, dying and suffering on the cross to erase our sins. The suffering and pain you endured for us, can’t even come close to what You went through for us! You have always been there for me and my boys and I would do it all over again! Thank you, Jesus, from the bottom of my heart.”

Love and perseverance will get us to heaven.

By John Keilman

Funeral arrangements for John Keilman are entrusted to Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 W. Main, Brenham. To post a tribute to the family, visit

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Memorial Oaks Chapel
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    Brenham, Texas 77833

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Calvary Cemetery
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