Myrtle Elizabeth Ogle Keck
July 17, 1908  --  October 21, 2006


Early in life Myrtle experienced the consequence of a broken home and almost ended up in an orphanage in Missouri.  Had it not been for the love and kindness of her Grandmother and Grandfather Ogle, she would have faced an uncertain and unsettled future.  Instead she was accepted in a home where she was loved and nurtured. At the early age of fifteen, Myrtle met a man ten years her senior and they got married.
They stayed married for Sixty Seven Years!  I sat spellbound as she related some of the events of those wonderful years.

Myrtle ‘Myrt’ Elizabeth Keck

Myrtle ‘Myrt’ Elizabeth Keck, 98, of Marble Falls, died Oct, 21, 2006.

She was born July l7, 1908, in St. Joseph, Mo.

She married John Keck Sr. in 1925 and they were married for over 60 years.

She lived with her grandson John O'Connor and his wife Nancy for the last six years in Marble Falls.  Until then she lived most of her life in St. Joseph.

In her younger years, she and her husband owned a grocery store, They also owned Keck Truck Line in the 1930s in which they hauled beer for the Goetz Brewing Company in St. Joseph.

The Kecks lived on the same piece of ground for more than 60 years. She was a landlady for 40 years and had over 40 rental properties. She also had a farm and farmed 80 acres of land. She loved to travel, hunt, fish and tell stories.

In addition to her grandson, she is survived by her daughter Betty O'Connor of Marble Falls; her other grandchildren Mike O'Connor and his wife Judy. Jeannie Garvey, Becky Lett and her husband Doug, Mary Kovarna and her husband-Rick, Amy Omlar and her husband Phil, and Bridget Hoefling and her husband Kenny; 20 great-grandchildren, 23 great-great-grandchildren; George Garvey, Gary Kovarna and many close friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband and her son John Keck Jr. both of St. Joseph.

A visitation was held Oct. 23 at Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home in Marble Falls. A funeral will be 2 p.m. Friday at Rupp Funeral Home, 6054 Pryor, St. Joseph, Mo.

Arrangements are under the direction of Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home of Marble Falls.

This article Previously printed in “The River Cities Daily Tribune”, Feb. 25, 2006.

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Has Two Children.

For five years Keck trucks did hauling for the Kelsey nurseries.  For the last three years they have served as transports for the Goetz Brewing Company.  If affairs on a route are not moving along to suit Mrs. Keck she has been known to climb in with the driver and go over the territory herself.

Mrs. Keck has still a third business.  She is the mother of two Children, a daughter, fifteen years Old enrolled at Mount St. Scholastics Academy at Atchison, Kan., and a seventeen-year-old son who is a student at Christian Brothers High School.

“My biggest  problem now is keeping warm,” she said, as she side-stepped a workman carrying a huge square of slate, turned up her coat collar and headed back into the chill, dark interior of a school building that will soon be no more.

No Idle Times on Her Hands

Equally at ease either wrecking a house or building a home is Mrs. John Keck, St. Joseph, who operates a business wrecking Concern.  Mrs. Keck, seen above looking over part of the Gall House, a pioneer hostelry, which she is wrecking, also is the Mother of a son and daughter who are high school students.  She Also helps operate a trucking concern that carries on business in Five states.  In addition to razing various structures she has built more than a dozen houses in and near St. Joseph.

There are Times I'm Glad I’m not in charge of Life

Today is one of those days I'm glad I'm not in charge of life!  Some people are "control freaks" and want to be in charge of everything that happens in their lives. I'm not one of them.

You see, I don't have sense enough to work out everything that happens in my life. That's something that I leave up to Somebody else, you know Who I mean!

Just recently something happened in my life that, if given a hundred years to do so, I could have never planned. Let me tell you about it.

Last week. I got a phone call from my friend, "The Old Buzzard" better known in these parts by some - as Guy Decker. He had a lady on another Phone that wanted to talk to me. Of course, I agreed to talk with her.

She introduced herself over the phone as “Nancy O'Conner” and stated that we had never met but that she and another lady were in Monticello to visit some friends. The real story here is about, the lady traveling with Mrs. O'Conner.

I serve as vice president of an organization called "The Ogle/Ogles Family Association.

This association is an organization of hundreds of people across the nation who are interested in all things that have to do with Ogle genealogy. We have a news letter, elected officers, scholarly publications and we even have national conventions.

Mrs. O’Connor turned out to be a member of the Association and would you believe the friend’s maiden name just happened to be Ogle and she too was a member of the Association.

Myrtle Ogle Keck and Nancy O’Connor of Marble Falls Texas were in Monticello, Kentucky and wanted to visit with me.

Who would have thought on a Sunday afternoon I would have visitors from Texas.

Well we arranged to meet out on bambi Circle and what a meeting we had!  Myrtle or “Myrt” was a dear ninety-six year old Ogle who had been born in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1908!  She remembered some of the events of World War I! As we talked, I though I had died and gone to heaven!

Myrtle and her husband were blessed with children and they made their living by running a country store. During the Depression years, they fared pretty well in Saint Joseph because they had friends and neighbors who shared their resources with each other.

Soon they bought a truck and began a trucking business. That business grew to nine large semis hauling freight through out the region. On day somebody asked Myrtle if she wanted to tear down some old houses and she accepted the proposition.

She would find men who would tear down the houses for half of the materials. and she would get the other half. She wound up with used lumber, doors and windows that she could sell in the store. Then she thought, why not build a rental house or two with the used lumber. She was soon in the housing business.

I tell you that to show you what a resourceful business lady she was.

Did I say was? I really should say is. Here in front of me was a wonderful lady in her 96th year, hundreds of miles from her home in Texas, visiting a family in Kentucky who had helped her ford a river in Rittner; talking to me as if she could whip a circle saw!

Boy, did she make me proud to be an Ogle. I realized that some of the same genes and some of the same blood that flowed thru Myrtle's body were in me! We came from the same stock! We had common ancestors.

We shared the same proud Ogle heritage! A heritage that has made us vigorous, cheerful, sociable, stubborn, indomitable, and hopeful.

I put her near the top of my list of people who, were "old" but still full of life, pep, vigor, hope, and optimism.

She became one of my heroes. I see people like Myrtle and realize that when I get "old" I don't have to be grouchy, negative, and feeling sorry for myself all the time.

I could have never planned for my meeting with Myrtle Ogle Keck! I didn't even know she, existed.   Somebody did! And He brought us together On a rainy Sunday afternoon and we shared a moment of inspiration, joy, and encouragement.

I’m glad I'm not in control of life. I’m glad HE is!   Without His hand working in my life, I never Would have met Myrtle.

This article was first printed in the Wayne County Outlook of Aug. 4, 2004.

Article by Harland Ogle, by permission.

You can contact Harland Ogle by Mail at Route 5, Box 9688, Monticello, KY 42633 or by e-mail at Visit his web site at

Woman is Builder, Razer and Truck line Operator.

Most women enjoy pulling out all the furniture and placing it back in different comers.  But that would be child’s play to Mrs. John Keck, De Kalb road.  Mrs. Keck has been razing buildings since about 1935.   Tearing down a hefty brick building or putting up a new one is her special delight.  She was as happy as a housewife in the middle of spring house cleaning on a day last week when she interviewed at the scene of her new razing job, the old Maxwell school located northwest of the city.  Of course, razing buildings and erecting houses is a sort of hobby with her.

The main business in which she is a partner with her husband is the operation of a truck line that extends into five states.  Mrs. Keck was giving instructions to the driver of one of these huge transport trucks as the we visitors dropped in.  Another of the fleet of six was parked in the school yard, ready to carry off fixtures from the building which the Kecks recently bought from the school board

It has been about ten years since the bell atop the old red brick school at the comer of Maxwell and Amazonia roads has called children to classes.  Pupils now are transported to schools in the city limits.  The school board is retaining one basement and a room of this building to be used as a shelter for the children waiting for the school busses.  Mrs. Keck has razed a number of buildings in St. Joseph.  A job which she is just completing is that of the old Galt Hotel at Fourth and Sylvanie streets.  And she does not supervise the - [unk words] - for her.

But there's a femininity about Mrs. Keck that does not fit in with the man-sized jobs in which she is adept.  She leaned against a basement door, looking up at the walls that she will start toppling sometime soon - a dark pretty woman, with flashing eyes and a quick smile. She wore a tweed coat over brown slacks and a red flannel jacket, with a red scarf binding her hair.

Works with Crews

Tearing down buildings is fun, she said with a smile. "How do I know how to do it? We’ll get a good crew of workmen and stay with them".

Mrs. Keck has built about eleven houses in and around St. Joseph. Her newest venture is a bungalow court, modeled after California houses, which she is building in Hyde park. She draws the plans for her houses. The Southside houses are being modeled after some she saw in California during the winter and will be the first of their type in St. Joseph.

On that project Mrs. Keck developed a healthy peeve. It's in the difficulty of cutting down trees and getting out the stumps. No one here knows how to cut down a tree", she said. "Now I don't mind tearing down houses or putting them up, but I draw the line at cutting down trees or pulling a stump".

Trucker for eleven years

She has been in the trucking business for about eleven years and it was her grandmother, of all people who unwittingly started her in the business.  “Grandma gave me a car and I traded it for a truck.” She said.  “Of course Grandma didn’t like that.”

Ten years ago the Maxwell School, was one of the centers of the community life of Maxwell Heights. Perhaps none other than the little red brick church [unk...] the way, did the neighborhood's heart beat more strongly than there. 

The building recently was sold  by the school board to Mrs. Keck and is now being razed [by her company]. Up until the last few years of it's use there was a member of the family whose name the school bears enrolled there.  The famous name associated with the Maxwell Heights community is that of Mrs. Nellie Taylor Ross, former Governor of Wyoming and now director of the United States Mint.

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