For anyone that ever met him, Sean Keigher made a lasting impression.
Part of that impression emerged because Keigher was diminutive in height, but lion-sized in heart. Part came because he had an unmatched passion to be independent. And still part derived from his indefatigable love for Cloverdale — a love that made him an ambassador for the 141-year-old town.
Keigher always “dressed to the nines” and would greet everyone around town with a smile.
He was proud of Cloverdale and walked everywhere and everyone knew him. When Keigher traversed the streets of the downtown core, he would pop his head into businesses just to say hello.
He often visited then MLA Kevin Falcon to talk political shop and raise concerns with Falcon that he’d heard from other citizens. Keigher was fond of politics and visited Falcon’s office almost daily. He was proud to vote and never missed an election.
He would swing past the Cloverdale BIA as often as he could, always willing — and hoping — to lend a hand wherever needed. He would often help put up posters for the rodeo and promote other events.
He was on the board for the Surrey Association for Community Living (SACL) for more than 15 years and performed his duties for that board with diligence and a joyous work ethic that was unmatched.
Keigher would drop in to seniors’ homes to take seniors that were in wheelchairs out for some fresh air.
He also found time to compete as a Special Olympian in both baseball and bowling.
Keigher was a kind-hearted, loving person who was his own biggest advocate and he was a down-to-earth man in every way.
And while his body was down-to-earth, his mind reached upward.
He had deep faith and attended weekly Mass at Precious Blood church.
He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and wore his Knights badge with pride.
And while faith was important to him, so too was lending a hand. He also served at the church by helping to bring the collection up to the altar each week.
Protective of his tasks, Keigher once sprinted through the church to snatch the collection basket from another person when they had inadvertently taken it up to the altar for him. It was Keigher’s job and he was going to complete it, no matter what.
That pride, independence, and passion defined Keigher’s life.
Although Keigher lived one block from the SACL office, he would famously refuse rides to the building. Instead, he would take the bus the one-block length. Another example of his fierce independence.
People really enjoyed Keigher’s company. He was “always positive and super happy.”
He was also very proud of — and very serious about — his job at McDonald’s.
He got the job himself in the middle ’90s after completing a volunteer work experience program there.
When the program ended, it was expected Keigher shuffle off to his next thing. But Keigher wouldn’t have it. He told management at McDonald’s that he could do the work — and he proved it. His persistence paid off. They needed someone to fill the position and he was hired.
He worked every Saturday for more than two decades until declining health forced him to retire in 2018. He moved to a care home in Burnaby shortly after retiring, soon suffering from the effects of dementia.
But he rarely missed work during his time at McDonald’s and would plan trips and holidays around his work schedule, always making sure he was back in time to work his Saturday shift.
A funeral Mass was held for Keigher in January at Precious Blood church and a celebration of life was held for him last week (March 10) at the SACL. Keigher had been with the SACL for 42 years — from 1976 to 2018.
At that celebration, SACL members and staff shared stories about Keigher. They laughed and cried, but mostly laughed, as they watched funny pictures of him flash by on a slideshow set to the music of Elvis and Johnny Cash (his favourites).
Keigher lived a life of “no limits” and his infectious passion animated all who encountered him.
Everyone in Cloverdale “wrapped their arms around” Keigher and were proud of him.
Cloverdale’s ambassador died on January 18, 2020. He was 61.