Ronald A. Keno, 90, dealer, collector & car enthusiast

By: AdvWisdom
Title: Ronald A. Keno, 90, dealer, collector & car enthusiast
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Published Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2021 15:41:22 +0000

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MOHAWK, NY – Ronald “Ron” A. Keno passed away peacefully on Monday, June 21, at the age of 90 after a brief battle with cancer. Born to Leslie and Anna Keno on August 17, 1930, he became a lifelong resident of Mohawk. Keno’s great-grandparents, Francois Cuenot, and his wife Marie were born in France and immigrated to America, where they arrived in New York in 1874. Its ancestors have a long history in New York State, beginning in the mid-17th century, particularly in the Upper Hudson River Valley, including counties of Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, and Montgomery. Keno’s maternal grandmother, Delphine Devenpeck, was a direct descendant of Cornelius Van Horne, who fought in the Third Regiment of the Tryon Militia in the Battle of Oriskany, considered one of the turning points in the War of Independence.

Keno’s eighth great-grandfather was General Philip J. Schuyler (1733-1804), who married Catherine Van Rensselaer in 1755. Catherine’s mother was Angelica Livingston (born Fort Orange, Albany, July 17, 1698). As a member of the Continental Congress for multiple terms, as United States Senator for New York in 1755, and as a seasoned officer, Schuyler was awarded the rank of major general on June 19, 1775, making him the third in command of the Revolutionary Army under George Washington. His main residence was the Schuyler Mansion in Albany. Philip Schuyler’s country estate, farm, various mills and numerous shops and businesses were the origin of the village of Old Saratoga, which is now called Schuylerville.

Keno attended Mohawk High School and was educated at Syracuse University, where he graduated with a BA in Arts. In 1952 he married the former Norma Sweet from Herkimer, with whom he had a devoted, loving relationship for 49 years until her death in February 2001. He was a very popular art teacher at Herkimer high school for over 25 years.

Passionate about antiques, the kenos soon opened their first antique shop in the front center room of the house and later moved to a small barn on the property. It wasn’t long before Keno and his family started exhibiting at antique fairs on the east coast. The kenos began to expand their hobby into a business and embarked on a lifelong adventure in search of treasure.

Shortly after graduating from college, Keno began his career as an art teacher at Herkimer High School; in the summer he spent about eight years as a smelter. He once said that he was fascinated by bridges from a young age. His three sons – eldest son Mitchell and twin sons Leigh and Leslie – have vivid memories of watching their father in awe as they casually walked hundreds of feet in the air over thin steel girders without safety ropes or the inside walls of the large red barn to repair the roof. They claim that their father’s courage, along with his strong desire to help other people and animals in need, was the reason they never followed comic book or cinema superheroes. In her words: “Dad was our own ‘superhero’ and the best role model a son could ever ask for.” In the course of their lives, Keno’s sons met countless people who were in their father’s art class, they almost always mentioned the positive ones Effects that it had on her life or career. As they grew up, the twins had some good friends from Herkimer who had Keno as their teacher, who told them he was “more of a father to them than their own father”.

The late 1960s and 1970s saw a massive surge in the number of new antique exhibitions, antique shops, and outdoor shows. The Brimfield Flea Market was one of the keno’s favorite flea markets, and the family exhibited there three times a year. When the gates opened early in the morning, the long caravan of vans and trucks poured into the field. Keno grabbed the grill and Norma was always serving home cooked meals to her ever growing group of friends. The Kenos eventually met the now legendary Russell Carrell and exhibited for many years at flea markets that Russell organized across New England and New York State; he was one of the first, if not the very first show managers in America to invite dealers who shared his personal passion for decorative arts and furniture from the 17th to the early 19th centuries. Some of the keno’s most popular shows were the Salisbury Show, Golden Ball Tavern Show, and the Shaker Museum in Chatham, NY

Once Keno got something on his mind, there wasn’t much to get in his way. He particularly supported his three boys. A particularly memorable example was around 1971 when the twins opened their mail one afternoon only to see photos from a marked, large 6-gallon earthenware pot adorned with a cobalt blue elephant in boots. The asking price was $ 600! Leslie and Leigh made quick phone calls to the folk art dealers who owned it, and within an hour Ron was behind the wheel on the way to their store, driving all night to a small town north of Detroit, Michigan, the key pieces in his sons growing stoneware collection .

The kenos found great joy in eating or just having coffee with the countless visitors who visited their home. Discovery stories were shared by everyone. In winter, the 19th century stove was always on fire and an endless stream of visitors was almost always guaranteed. They went out of their way to welcome others into their home. Keno always tried its best to help others in need, just like Norma. A good friend of our parents was so heavy that a normal chair could not support its weight; Keno looked for and discovered a large oak armchair from the Arts and Crafts era that had a special place in the kitchen every time you visit.

Keno’s passion for historic European British and American sports cars is well known. All three sons vividly remember being passengers as teenagers, while their father drove cars with “uncanny” dexterity “on four wheels” through the legendary S-turns of the road several miles up the street from the Keno estate “at speed.” “” Drifted. This long and winding stretch of paved road with sloping cliffs on either side was a challenging “adrenaline-filled” series of turns that cut through cliffs through a narrow valley but luckily allowed the driver to see oncoming cars.

A car lover at heart, Keno was a founding member (# 67) of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club, founded in the mid-1950s. The kenos somehow managed to accomplish the seemingly impossible feat of tucking themselves, the newly born twins, young Mitchell, and a picnic basket into his 1937 Supercharged Auburn Boat-Tailed Speedster. The family then headed to western New York to see the Watkins Glen International Grand Prix races, held on the international circuit long known as “The Glen” and a Mecca for the people Racing has become in North America. Keno bought, restored, and drove many brands from England, Italy, and the United States that would later fill most of the barns on the Keno property; he had a fondness for Jaguar’s sports cars from the 1950s-60s. Two of his greatest discoveries were a 1938 Jaguar 3½-liter SS-100 and a 1939 Alfa Romeo Superleggera, which was later confirmed as the rendezvous of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini during his romance with his lover Claretta Petaacci.

Keno has always had an innate ability and the good fortune to discover really great pieces. In 2012, he received a call from his neighbor about an “old carved chest” that had entered her family. Coincidentally, the twins were riding their off-road motorbikes (i.e. dirt bikes) on the three-kilometer field road next to their house against the sons. As it turned out, the carved and painted dowry chest, with its original paintwork, was later attributed to the Deacon John Moore Shop Tradition, Windsor, Connecticut, 1675-1690. News of Keno’s discovery reached the Anderson Cooper Show, and the neighbors were invited to sit in the front row of the studio. With the chest on stage and the camera running, Leslie and Leigh told the owners that they own a “masterpiece” of Pilgrim Century furniture valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was later sold for $ 632,400 at Leigh’s auction house Keno Auctions in 2012, setting a new auction record for a Pilgrim Century chest.

Keno will always be remembered for his storytelling, great happy personality, empathy and compassion for those around him and his love for beautiful objects.

Keno leaves behind his good friend Dorothy Butler and her dog Annie, his three sons and their children: Mitchell, his wife Kristin and granddaughter Lisa; Leigh, his wife Jasmine, and grandson Brandon; Leslie, his wife Emily and granddaughter Ashley and grandson Philip Schuyler.

On Saturday, June 26th, a small service and a funeral took place on site. No further memorial service is currently planned.

Please consider donations in Ron’s memory to the Norma Keno Animals in Crisis Fund of the Herkimer County Humane Society, Herkimer, NY (514 NY-5S, Mohawk, NY, 13407, 315-866-3255).

Ron and Cat

Keno stands with the cat “Blackie” in front of the entrance of the stone “smoke house” from the 19th century, which is still on the Keno property today.

Ron Dome upper trunk

Keno can be seen here in an undated photo at the Brimfield Flea Market with an early, boldly painted pine trunk.

Old Ron and Car

Keno stood next to his maroon lacquered Cord 812 Supercharged Beverly from 1937.

Ron and Mitchell

Keno in the water with a very young Mitchell.

Ron Mitchell and twins

Keno keeps twins Leslie and Leigh with eldest son Mitchell.

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