Barbara ‘Nina’ (Minnie) Keating

MECHANICSVILLE, Va. — Barbara Ann “Nina” (Minnie) Keating, formerly of Old Forge and New Hartford, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in Mechanicsville, Virginia, with her family at her side. She was 86.

Barbara was born on April 28, 1933, in Old Forge, to Leo D. and Irma (Smith) Minnie. She attended Old Forge Schools, graduating with a major in mathematics. She also studied the tenor saxophone, guitar and voice. She was the first woman in her family to attend college, and she began her formal academic training in 1950 at the Potsdam Teacher’s College in Potsdam.

Barbara was an accomplished singer and guitar player, and left college after being recruited to perform on various live radio broadcasts and live venues across the region. Regular family music festivals, “Clam Bakes,” became the family norm and tradition. She was known for her wonderful gift of harmonizing, and there would always be a rousing version of her favorite song, “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.” In 1953, during a CBS radio broadcast, she met fellow musician Thomas Patrick Keating of Woodgate. She has often said, thinking back to that day, “One day his guitar was so out of tune, I went over and taught him how to tune it ‘by ear.’ Well, we started talking — and he never stopped talking for 58 years.” They were married on May 8, 1954, at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Old Forge.

In her later years, she returned to college life by working full-time at the MVCC business office. She also had a deep devotion to helping children with developmental disabilities and taught many children born with Down’s syndrome how to swim. She loved to spend summers in Old Forge and visiting her children in California and Virginia, and sharing her “secret recipes.”

She discovered social media a few years ago, and she became a frequent presence and steady companion on her family and friends’ Facebook pages. She had an engaging sense of humor that many will remember.

Barbara is survived by six children: Tim (Kristin) Keating of Chesapeake, Virginia, Ellen Flynn of Vernon, Nancy Keating of Mechanicsville, Virginia, Barbara (Bill Stacy) Keating of Disputanta, Virginia, Dan Keating of Ava and Mark (Kerry) Keating of Saranac Lake; nine grandchildren: Kelley Keating, Holly and Jake Keating, Sean (Brigitta) Flynn, David and Kate Roberts, and Matthew, Mary and Samuel Keating; four great-grandchildren: Liam and McKenna Flynn and Grayson and London Roberts; and two brothers: Leo D. “Lee” Minnie II of Old Forge and Harold J. Minnie of Albany.

She was predeceased by her husband Thomas in 2012; a brother, Donald Minnie; and sister, Virginia Dresser.

Services will be held in Old Forge in summer 2019, at the convenience of the family.