Thomas Lewis Keck

Thomas Lewis Keck, 83, passed away at his Oak Brook home on Feb. 27, 2021.

He was born in 1937 in Chicago (Hyde Park) to Alice and William S. Keck. He graduated from St. Ignatius High School in Chicago, and, after service in the Army, went on to receive his master’s in higher mathematics from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa.

He moved to Alaska in 1960 and began teaching high school math in the towns of Kodiak and Cordova, Alaska. Tom discovered that many of his students made more money fishing during the summers than he did teaching, and he decided to become a commercial fishermen. He built a cabin in a remote area of Uyak Bay, Kodiak, and foundead a successful commercial fishing business named Greenbanks, which he managed from 1961-86. Greenbanks was one of the largest fishing operations of its type in Alaska. After selling Greenbanks, he turned his attention to developing his painting and general contracting business, Keck & Co, in Elmhurst. Tom took great pride in restoring homes to their original grandeur, earning praise and loyalty from customers. His eye for detail and color matching was exceptional.

In his spare time, he channeled his drive into the creation of stain glass art and the cultivation of a horticultural paradise at his Oak Brook home. Over many years, Tom imported ornamental grasses, seeds and trees from around the world and laboriously planted and pruned to create a spectacular floral sanctuary. Without fail, he could name every tree, plant and bird on his property. In addition to gardening, Tom loved travel, reading, telling colorful stories, politics and lively debate with friends.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents; and his two brothers, Bill Keck and John Keck.

He is survived by his wife, Jan Berg Keck, nee Rauch; his six step-children, Peter (Martha), John (Shannon), Patty, James (Carmen), Matthew (Veronika) and Kristin; 15 grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 13, at Visitation Catholic Church, 779 S. York Road, Elmhurst. Guests are welcome to arrive at 9 a.m. for prayer and visitation in the Fireplace Room at the church.

Marin Funeral Home in Chicago handled the arrangements.