Michael Joseph Keane, 60, was called home by his loving Creator on February 19, 2014, after complications from an illness. Michael was the son of Hugh and Theresa Keane, and the oldest of six children Patti, Mary, Kevin, Brian and James. After starring as a varsity football and baseball athlete at East Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts, Michael received an appointment to and attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland from 1970 to 1972. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland in 1974. Michael came to St. Petersburg, Florida to attend Stetson University College of Law where he graduated magna cum laude in 1978 and served as Editor-In-Chief of the Stetson Law Review in 1977-1978. After passing the Florida Bar, Michael clerked for the Honorable Ben F. Overton, Justice, Florida Supreme Court from 1978 to 1980. After completing his clerkship with Justice Overton, Michael returned to St. Petersburg in 1980 to begin a long and highly distinguished legal career and he was a founding partner in the law firm Keane, Reese, Vesely & Gerdes, P.A., in 1994. He remained a lifelong protégé and friend of Justice Overton until his passing in 2012. Michael was loving and generous son, brother, father, husband, partner and friend for all of his life. It was all he knew to do.
Over the past 34 years Michael was a zealous advocate and respected counselor to his clients, and a respected lawyer and adversary among his peers. Michael conducted numerous trials to juries in environmental, construction, personal injury, contracts, real property, legal malpractice and commercial disputes in federal and state courts throughout Florida, as well as presenting many more cases before Judges, Arbitration Panels and Administrative Law Judges. Michael was certified by the Florida Bar in both Civil Trial and Business Litigation practice areas. He also had a successful appellate law practice, having argued cases before the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Florida Supreme Court, and the Florida District Courts of Appeal. Michael was a strong advocate of the alternative dispute resolution process. He was certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a Civil Mediator, and also served as an Arbitrator and a Voluntary Trial Judge on cases presented to him by other attorneys. Michael was annually recognized by The Best Lawyers In America for "bet-the-company" litigation, Super Lawyers for civil trial excellence, and Florida Trend Legal Elite for civil and commercial litigation expertise.
Michael gave of himself often and enthusiastically in service to the profession he loved. He had a longstanding and deep passion for legal education. Michael served as an Adjunct Professor at Stetson University College of Law teaching classes in professional ethics, Florida constitutional law and alternative dispute resolution. He lectured at various continuing legal education seminars and authored a number of professional publications in legal journals and law reviews. Michael served on the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, the body that considers competency and character to approve candidates for acceptance into the Florida Bar. He served as Vice Chair and Chair of the Board and continued to serve as an Emeritus member of the Board until 2010 when he returned to teaching at Stetson as an Adjunct Professor.
"Keaner" was an outright baseball fanatic. He could not hear enough, listen enough, or talk enough about his beloved Boston Red Sox, and he was in attendance for the 86 year awaited 2004 Red Sox World Series Championship and for the Red Sox most recent 2013 World Series Championship. Since his teenage years, Michael played the Strat-O-Matic board baseball game and looked forward to each draft and season with his local Strato league members who have been together for decades. He coached youth baseball and was a Board Member at Northwest Youth Baseball for 10 years until 2010. He took his teams to a Dizzy Dean State Championship and a National World Series Runner-Up. During that same time Coach Keane founded the St. Pete Saints, an AAU travel team that he took all over Florida and to Cooperstown Dream Park playing the best competition in youth baseball. Many of his players had successful high school baseball careers in St. Petersburg and some are still playing baseball in college. To those players he will always be known for his sunscreen facial and his mantra "Never, Never, Never Quit".
Michael was preceded in death by his father Hugh (1986) and his brother-in-laws Michael Reese (Mary) and Danny Oswalt (Patti). He is survived by his mother, Theresa; his wife, Corrine ("Corky"); his two sons Patrick and Callaghan; the mother of his children Lisa ("Tami"); five siblings Mary (Cypress Run), Patti (North Carolina), Kevin (Linda)(St. Petersburg), Brian (Mindy)(Bradenton) and James (Cathy) (Tallahassee); two stepsons Justin Tedder and Chad Crawford; 18 nieces and nephews Amber, Alexa, Brian, Chris, Danielle, Dennis, Gabriel, Jason, Jenny, Jeremiah, Joshua, Kayla, Kevin, Laura, Matt, Molly, Natalie and Pete; 3 grand-nieces Olivia, Reese and Sheltyn; and his lifelong friends and confidants Charlie Maurer (Naples) and Diane Keane (St. Petersburg).
Visitation will be from 5-7 PM Sunday, Feb. 23, at Our Lady's Chapel at the Cathedral of St. Jude, 5815 5th Ave. No. A prayer service will take place at 7:00 PM Sunday. Funeral Mass will be 1:00 PM Monday, Feb. 24th at the Cathedral of St. Jude.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Michael J. Keane Foundation c/o Hancock Bank, 100 2nd Ave. No., St. Petersburg, FL 33701