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Frances Keeffe, 82, Longtime Scarsdale Resident

Frances Keeffe
Frances Keeffe Photo Credit:

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Frances Rippetoe Keeffe, a longtime Scarsdale resident who recently lived at Heritage Hills in Somers and Somers Manor Nursing Home, died Dec. 21 at Calvary Hospital in Bronx, N.Y., after a prolonged illness. She was 82.

Known as "Granny Franny," she performed for children and ran preschool music programs at Scarsdale Congregational Church and St. James the Less Church.

Born Dec. 24, 1929, Keeffe was raised in Kentucky and West Virginia by a musical family. She started performing at the age of 4 and was well-versed in piano, voice, ukulele, guitar and clarinet.

She graduated from Oak Hill High School in West Virginia and attended Averett College in Virginia, where she was president of the student body and was voted May Queen.

Keeffe worked as a laboratory technician at the University of Virginia, where she met John Keeffe, a law student. They married and lived in Florida, Virginia and New York.

While living in Scarsdale, Keeffe was involved in Scarsdale Congregational Church and held various positions, including assistant moderator, chair of the music and worship committee and several other roles. She also led a successful campaign to bring a new organ to the church.

Keeffe was also a Girl Scout troop leader while raising her daughters in Scarsdale. She was a regular performer in local theatrical productions. Her family said that she was very proud of taking part in the historic Scarsdale Schools campaign to allow children to stay at school for lunch so that both spouses could work.

Until her death, Keeffe was a director of Lakota Children’s Enrichment Inc., a nonprofit corporation founded by her granddaughter, Maggie Dunne, to help children on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

She is survived by three daughters, Virginia "Gigi" Keeffe Schwartzman, Cynthia Dunne and Amy Peckham; and eight grandchildren.

Magner Funeral Home in White Plains is handling arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Scarsdale Congregational Church, One Heathcote Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583, or Lakota Children’s Enrichment Inc. , P.O. Box 581, Scarsdale NY 10583.

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