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Longtime Cortez resident and businessman, Joe Keesee passed away peacefully at his home on July 2, 2021.
Joe and his wife Mary Ann moved to Cortez in 1971 when they purchased the Ford dealership, then Marsell Motor Company. They felt privileged to raise their family in the beautiful Montezuma Valley. Joe served on the board of Citizens State Bank, Cortez Economic Development Council and Four Corners Community Bank. He volunteered his efforts toward charitable initiatives in Cortez and the surrounding communities and gave much to the community he loved. Joe was a skilled golfer and low handicapper and was a member of Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale where he made many friends. Joe loved the outdoors and recreational opportunities of life in southwest Colorado. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed fishing trips with his family and friends from the Sea of Cortez to the Gulf of Alaska. He and Mary Ann traveled the world together. Married for 52 years, Joe adored his children and grandchildren and never let too much time pass between visits.
Joe was born in Fort Worth, Texas to Gilbert and Marguerite Rhodes. After his parent’s divorce he moved to Hobbs, New Mexico as a three-year-old where his mother re-married H.K. (Ken Keesee). He had two half-brothers, Wayne and Michael Keesee. Joe’s stepfather moved the family to Farmington, New Mexico during the oil boom in the mid 1950's. Joe attended Bluffview Elementary, Tibbets Junior High and Farmington High School where he excelled as a right-handed fast ball pitcher in the high school ranks and the Babe Ruth leagues. He was the starting pitcher for the first ever Babe Ruth World Series held in Farmington and for years held the strike out record at Farmington High School, collecting 17 K's in a single game.
Joe was preceded in death by his father Gilbert Rhodes; step mother Mabeth Rhodes; mother Marguerite Keesee; step-father Ken Keesee; and his half- brothers, Wayne and Michael Keesee. He is survived by his loving wife Mary Ann Keesee; his brothers; Mark Rhodes (Gwena) of Cleburne, Texas, and Brad Rhodes (Susie) of Fort Worth, Texas; his daughters, Angela Loewen (Rob) of Montrose, Colorado, and Amy Keesee of Denver, Colorado; his sons, David Keesee (Shannon) of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Andrew "AJ" of Cortez, Colorado, and adopted son Doak Belt (Ver) of La Jolla, California; eleven grandchildren and adoptive grandchildren, Dylan Voytilla ,Drew Loewen (Gina), Aiden Barnes, Henry Barnes, Kieran Keesee, Zoey Keesee, Arlo Keesee, Emerson Keesee, Ford Keesee, Kaden Belt and Wyatt Belt.
Joe will be missed by many in the Cortez community but particularly by the employees at Keesee Motor Company where his calm and thoughtful leadership garnered loyalty and admiration from the hundreds of men and women he employed over the past 50 years. Together they won the "not easy to come by" attention of Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Credit Corporation as evidenced by multiple awards over the years including 12 Presidents Awards, the highest honor a Ford Dealer can earn. His low-key manner, dry wit, and wise counsel endeared him to many. Joe’s days of wondering the fields and streams of southwest Colorado and golf courses all over the world may be over but his presence will always be felt by those many lives he touched with generosity and wisdom.
A celebration of Joe's life will be held on Saturday, July 17, 2021 at Ertel Memorial Chapel in Cortez between 2:00-5:00 p.m. The public is invited to pay respects and offer condolences to the family at that time, but mostly to share stories and memories of a life well lived.
Memorial contributions can be made in Joe’s memory to Conquistador Junior Golf Foundation at Dolores State Bank, or to For Pets Sake Humane Society, PO Box 1705, Cortez, Colorado 81321.
Saturday, July 17, 2021
2:00 - 5:00pm (Mountain time)
Ertel Memorial Chapel
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