Charles Richard McKeever passed away on Thursday, July 20, 2017. He was born July 7, 1927 in Warroad, MN. He was welcomed home to Flag island by his parents, Joe and Georgina, and his three older brothers, Joe Jr., George and David. Charles attended school at Oak Island until grade 8 and then finished school at Warroad High School. His teenage summers were spent working at Flag Island Resort, owned by his parents. He also did netting as a commercial fisherman. Upon turning 18, Charles immediately joined the Merchant Marine to serve out the war. His ship, the Cyrus Adler, struck a mine near the Port of Antwerp, Belgium. He was ordered to abandon ship but told his Captain that their cargo of lumber would remain afloat and the maneuver wasn’t necessary, saving the cargo and wear and tear on the crew.
Charles married Hazel Stella Viola Martin of Kenora, Ontario on February 15, 1947. They met while Hazel visited her sister, Hattie, on Oak Island, and their engagement until Charles came home from the Merchant Marine. They flew into Warroad for the nuptials, witnessed by George and Eleanor McKeever. After flying back to Flag Island, they traveled to their reception on Oak Island by sleigh; their wedding cake was prepared by Hazel’s mother, Matilda, and sent to the reception by dog sled. They quickly began a family with one child (Rick) born at home on Flag and delivered by Hazel’s sister, Hattie.
In 1956, Charles and Hazel took over the ownership of Flag Island Resort. Charles was able to manage the logistics of the growing resort by memory – arrivals, departures, guides, supplies, guest preferences – all done without wifi! The resort grew to a capacity of 140 guests and was often full during high season; many wonderful memories were the best souvenirs from Flag Island. During the off-season, he worked as a commercial fisherman, delivered fuel for Stodgell’s Standard station and owned and operated the Warroad Rec Center. Eventually, Charles and Hazel began using the off-season to attend sport shows all over the Midwest, connecting with customers who became dear friends.
Charles was active in the Masonic Lodge, supporting the community with their good works. He also founded the Flag Island Frolics, a summer festival fundraiser for the Warroad Lakers.
He retired in 1989, selling the resort but retaining his beloved home on Flag Island. Charles and Hazel traveled extensively in retirement, visiting all of the United States as well as Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Australia. He loved deer hunting and also processed venison for successful hunters on Lake of the Woods.
Charles is survived by his wife of 70 years, Hazel; brother and sister-in-law, David and Evelyn; children, Patricia (Dick Johnson), Rick (Patti), Sheila (Steve), Kathy (Dick Nash), and JoeLynn (Roger Landin), 13 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held 2 PM Friday, July 29th at Zion Lutheran Church in Warroad. A visitation will be from 5-7 PM Thursday at Helgeson Funeral Home in Warroad. Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery and Military Honors by the Warroad American Legion and VFW.
Online guest book at: www.helgesonfuneralhome.com