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Larry Allen Keener



Larry A. Keener, Esq., 71, formerly of Mansfield, PA, passed away on June 18, 2017 at the Masonic Homes, Elizabethtown, PA. He was born October 19, 1945 in Charleston, WV, the son of Norval and Rebecca (Davis) Keener. Larry graduated from Vineland (NJ) High School where he was an accomplished wrestler. He earned his B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College ('68). During his time at F&M, Larry made many lifelong friends through his membership in Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and participation in numerous other extracurricular activities. Larry then earned his J.D. from Temple University ('72). Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania ('73) and the District of Columbia ('82), Larry was hired by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a deputy attorney general shortly after graduating from law school. He helped revise and update the PA Vehicle Code to create greater consistency with the model Uniform Vehicle Code. Larry developed an interest in the rules as they applied to long distance haulers and interviewed a number of career truckers to obtain their input for inclusion in the new Vehicle Code. Larry's experience working with the Vehicle Code and trucking industry led to him being hired by PennDOT as the first full-time attorney assigned to the Office of Chief Counsel, a position which he held until 1979 . Larry prided himself on his in-depth knowledge of the laws relating to motor vehicle registration and dealer regulation. Larry never allowed his visual handicap (he was totally blind since childhood ) to impact his job and helped any citizen or official who called with a problem. He was constantly on the telephone fielding inquiries from staff and citizens about the law with ready access to his trusty Braille Vehicle Code and a network of hundreds of friends knowledgeable in many other areas of the law and life. Incredibly, Larry never forgot a telephone number and kept a list in his head that exceeded the depth of most peoples' Rolodexes. Larry entered private practice in 1980, joining the Mansfield firm of van der Hiel, Cowley and Winterstein where he successfully represented clients in a wide variety of civil and criminal matters. He was recognized as a persuasive advocate who enjoyed significant success in jury trials. Larry was soon named as a partner in the firm, which was renamed van der Hiel, Cowley and Keener. Larry helped to grow the firm until he was seriously injured in an automobile accident in 1991. Following his accident, Larry retired from the practice of law to focus on his recovery, while continuing to enjoy frequent visits with his family and friends. Larry benefited tremendously from the compassionate rehabilitation and care teams at the Green Home (Wellsboro) and Masonic Villages. Larry is survived by his son, Grant, of East Petersburg, PA; his brother, Paul, of Vineland, NJ; nephews, Brian Keener, Mark Daniel Keener and Brian Marino, and niece, Stephanie Keener; as well as his former spouse Phyllis (Weidel) Hollinger of Lancaster, PA. Larry was preceded in death by his parents, and his brothers, Kent, Steve and Mark. Friends are invited to attend a graveside service at Oakwood Cemetery, Mansfield, PA, on Thursday, June 22 at 3:00 PM. A memorial service will be held at Sell Chapel, One Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown, PA, on Friday, June 23 at 11:00 AM. Visitation will precede the service beginning at 10:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, the family invites donations in Larry's memory to the Masonic Villages General Fund. Contributions may be made online at or mailed to Office of Gift Planning, One Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. Arrangements by Wilston Funeral Home, 130 S. Main Street, Mansfield, PA 16933.