To our Splash Magazine Worldwide readers,
I write this with a heavy heart and somewhat in shock. Six years ago, when my brother, Lawrence Davis, tragically passed away, I made the decision to continue Splash Magazines Worldwide as long as I could. At that time my husband, Leon Keer, was traveling with me, going to restaurants, plays, concerts and we enjoyed special experiences together. I often wrote about our experiences. We enjoyed each adventure.
About six years ago, Leon was diagnosed with a degenerative disease and after a few years he was diagnosed with an additional degenerative disease. Each of these diseases “fought” one another. His attitude was remarkable as his body continued to disappoint him. He was puzzled by his balance problems and began using a cane. When the cane was not providing enough stability, he selected a jazzy walker and used it handily. As his mobility decreased, he accepted a wheel chair and even liked it. We managed to keep him from falling to the ground. We stayed home most of the time and wore masks as needed and he avoided COVID. But, sadly, he passed away in the hospital of unknown causes on January 12th. He was the love of my life, my best friend and a very special and important person to many people around the globe.
Northwestern University, where he has been a professor emeritus for about 10 years, shared the story of his years of working with students and colleagues. Leon Keer’s obituary
A more personal story is on the Chicago Tribune Legacy website
Because Leon’s research was respected, he had many opportunities for travel when he was invited to attend conferences or present lectures. I would always try to tack on a hotel stay, a restaurant, possibly a museum and tell our unique stories. I am including links to several travel articles that relate to moments and experiences that Leon loved.
Shortly after Leon decided to retire, one of his colleagues who is from Symi, Greece organized a symposium in his honor. Little did we realize that his difficulty with managing the stone steps was a warning and that his balance would get worse as the time went on.
|University of California, San Diego, Professor Xanthippi Markenscoff, a colleague of Leon’s, arranged for a symposium to celebrate his retirement on the Greek Island of Symi.|
A Pair of Leon Keers
In 2011 we were in Paris and decided to go on to Utrecht to see Leon Keer, the artist. Professor Leon Keer was emailed by Artist Leon Keer, suggesting that they might be the only two people to have this name. Since the artist’s work interested us, we considered purchasing a large painting. Ultimately we did purchase the painting had it shipped and hung and Professor Leon enjoyed looking at the painting for several years. In the meantime, Artist Leon Keer has written a book and spends his time doing 3D chalk drawings.
The China National Tea Museum and West Lake
Leon was invited to China in 2012 along with a group of colleagues from Northwestern. The professor who invited us to visit the university and to give a talk had to be away for part of our stay. We were in a beautiful area west of Shanghai. We visited West Lake on our own but a student drove us to The China National Tea Museum and picked us up. It was fascinating.
Nearby West Lake is gorgeous and we explored that as well.
Yangtze River Cruise
In the Fall of 2013, Leon was invited to attend a meeting in Turino. It was a wonderful meeting where we met many friends and saw many places including the Shroud of Turin. I was able to make some arrangements for our stay in Florence where I begged to go. The hotel was the most beautiful that I have ever visited.
In 2016, we were visiting the California Institute of Technology for Leon’s 60th class reunion. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel hosted us, 60 years after we were married there.
Though Leon turned 85 in September of 2019 his entire family celebrated with him near Monterey, California, on the first weekend of January, 2020 Though he will be terribly missed, our family is thankful for the years in which Leon Keer brightened the world.
Photos are courtesy of Barbara Keer unless otherwise noted.