Dr. Robert Keen



Dr. Robert (Bobby) C. Keen made the transition from this Earth into Heaven and the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on December 20, 2022. Born in Clanton, Alabama, on March 22, 1948, he spent his youth on the small family farm in Billingsley, Alabama. He was the son of Lonnie Warren and Zelma (Wilkins) Keen and had one sister, Gloria Dianne (Keen) Robinson of Atlanta, Georgia.

Bobby attended Billingsley High School, graduating as salutatorian in 1966. He then attended Auburn University, where he received his B.S. in 1970 and his M.S. in 1972. While at Auburn, Bobby co-founded FarmHouse Fraternity, serving as the second president of the organization. He was in the Army ROTC, where he served as the Cadet Brigade Commander. He was also president of Omicron Delta Kappa, the leadership honorary; served as president of Alpha Zeta, a service honorary; was selected as a member of Spades; and was presented the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

Over the years, Bobby remained active at the national level of FarmHouse Fraternity, serving on the international board and as international president of the fraternity for four years. He also served on the FarmHouse Foundation Board and was given the Master Builder of Men Award, the fraternity’s highest honor.

After graduation, Bobby was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army. He entered active duty at Fort Eustis, Virginia, in August 1972, as a transportation officer. With the close of the Vietnam War at the end of 1972, Bobby returned to Auburn as assistant to the dean of students but continued his military service in the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves. He served for 26 years in such positions as headquarters company commander, inspector general of the 21st Support Command (CA) and as an instructor of the Command and General Staff College.

In 1973, Bobby was married to Margaret (Peggy) Ellen Dunlap of Anniston, Alabama, and God blessed their marriage with three children. They were married for 49 years.

Bobby earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1985.

In 1981, Bobby joined Agri-Business Group (ABG) of Indianapolis, Indiana, as director of program development and business analysis. He later served as Southeastern and Southwestern regional manager.

In 1994, Bobby joined Hancock Memorial Hospital (later Hancock Regional Hospital) in Greenfield, Indiana, where he served as chief executive officer for 20 years. Under his leadership, the hospital experienced significant growth. Bobby also served as chairman of the Hospital Council of the Indiana State Department of Health, was appointed by several governors to the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Board, and served as chairman of the Indiana Hospital Association, receiving that organization’s Distinguished Service Award.

Upon his retirement in 2014, he was given the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, the highest honor the Indiana governor can bestow.

In his retirement, Bobby spent much time on the cherished family farm in Billingsley. He felt that God had loaned him this property, and he always said his objective was to “take the land that God loaned he and his family and make Him glad he did.” The farm has been designated a certified Tree Farm and has received both the Stewardship and Treasurer Forest designations.

Bobby and Peggy have been active members of churches where they lived. Bobby was an ordained deacon in the Baptist Church and served several churches in that capacity. He and Peggy were active at Park Chapel Christian Church in Greenfield for 20 years.

Bobby was preceded in death by his mother and father, Lonnie Warren and Zelma (Wilkins) Keen; his maternal grandparents, Robert D. and Offie (Askins) Wilkins; and his paternal grandparents, Lonnie Cleveland and Ella Nancy (Billingsley) Keen. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Keen; his children, Ashley (Michael) Petry, Sarah (Aaron) Book, and Nathan (Meagan) Keen; and grandson Declan Keen.

Bobby’s family requests no flowers be sent. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to one of the following organizations: Park Chapel Christian Church, FarmHouse Foundation for the Auburn FarmHouse Building Fund, Hancock Regional Hospital Foundation Cancer Fund or Shepherds Purse. A memorial service will be held in the near future. Please refer to Erlewein Mortuary &Crematory website for upcoming service information.