Sat | Oct 20, 2018

'Rock of Ages' - David Keane lionised at funeral

Published:Sunday | December 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM
An emotional Julie-Ann Keane is supported by sisters Jordanne Keane (left), Leiza-Mae Keane-Davis (second left) and step-mother Paulette Keane (right) as she pays tribute to her late father, David Keane, at the funeral celebrating his life yesterday. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer
Cassidy Keane pays tribute to her grandfather, David Keane. She invites members of the church to worship with her during the service to celebrate his life yesterday. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Tyrone Thompson, Gleaner Staff Reporter

Musical selections and dance presentations, complemented by flag-waving church members, made it clear that despite the tears, it was a celebration for the life of David Keane, and not a mourning of his death, at the Church on the Rock in St Andrew yesterday.

Hundreds came to celebrate the life of the pastor who founded the church more than 30 years ago and whose music ministry will be remembered long after his passing.

Along with the performances, family members, friends and members of the church family gave moving tributes and testimonials of their memories of Keane and the impact he had on their lives.

The most moving of these tributes came from his daughter Julie-Ann Keane.

The mourners moved from weeping to hushed silence as Julie-Ann described her father's love for the less fortunate.

"My daddy lived for his flock who lived in the inner city," recounted Julie-Ann as tears streamed down her face.

"I remember during the Tivoli incursion (of 2001), the police occupation of the neighbourhood had prevented the people from going out to even get food. My father organised an intervention programme with the help of the police to bring food to members of the flock who were hungry."

Julie-Ann went on to tell how her father's love for the performing arts also changed Jamaican religious expression.


"My father loved to sing, and it was he who introduced reggae into gospel music even though at the time many didn't like that. He also introduced dancing as a part of the worship service, and today many churches are incorporating dance into their worship services."

Keane, who suffered from a brainstem stroke, was in a 'coherent but unresponsive state' for more than a decade before his death on December 7. He was 67 years old.

The pastor's health started to decline after he suffered a stroke in 2002 under dramatic circumstances.

He collapsed while preaching during a segment of a New Year's Eve 2002 gospel show at the Rock Garden Theatre in St Andrew.

The service was carried live on national television.