Charlene P. Keys
September 1, 1949 – April 25, 2021
Sacramento, California – Charlene Keys, beloved teacher, mother, grandmother and friend, died of a pulmonary embolism Sunday April 25 2021
A lifelong learner, educator and avid reader, Charlene was born Charlene Patricia Dunn on September 1, 1949, to Charles and Helen (Scalinetti) Dunn in Berkeley, California. She graduated from Acalanes High School in Lafayette, CA, and attended UC Berkeley for her undergraduate education. Following graduation, she attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga to obtain her teaching credential.
After obtaining her credential, Charlene embarked on a 40 year career as an elementary school educator, spending a short time in the Lafayette Unified School District where she met her Husband Robert Matthew Keys (deceased 2019), and the remaining time in the Antioch Unified School District. Charlene touched the lives of not just her students, but of her fellow teachers and other professional staff. She specialized in teaching reading and students with learning disabilities and provided countless students with the belief and confidence in themselves to succeed that they otherwise would not have had. Not just a mantra, she truly refused to leave any child behind. Teaching was a passion and calling that showed through her patience, love and genuine care for the success of all students.
Charlene retired from education in 2009 to continue caring for children – her grandchildren. She spent two years retired between Antioch and Sacramento where she permanently moved to Sacramento in 2011 to be the neighbor of her grandchildren. In 2011, she couldn’t help but jump back in the classroom. Between 2011 when her oldest grandchild entered kindergarten through 2020 when COVID-19 shut down in person learning, Charlene spent 2-5 days per week volunteering in the classrooms of her grandchildren. She looked forward to next school year so she could get back in the classroom. Teachers raved about the help from Grandma and what she was able to bring to the students and to them as a mentor. Parents at the Little League, soccer and basketball games would constantly thank us for lending Grandma to their children in the class and mention how much their children loved having her as well. On afternoons and weekends, Charlene could be found at the youth sports field as the loudest supporter of her grandchildren’s efforts. Her support for them was truly unwavering.
About the only thing bigger than her heart for students and grandchildren were her Borders and Barnes & Noble accounts. She passed her love for reading on to her grandchildren, and her and Elijah Keys even cried together with the closure of the local Borders in 2011. All her bookstore gift cards resulted in more books for her grandchildren. She had plenty for herself and never went anywhere without at least one in her purse. After every visit, someone would have to chase her home to return the book she left. She could not stop reading.
Charlene is survived by her sons Andrew and Christopher Keys, grandchildren Elijah, Deangelo and Mila (Andrew) and Elliott and Russell (Christopher), and brothers Franco and Dennis Dunn.
Due to the current pandemic, services in-person will be private, yet they will be streamed online to include those who would like to attend virtually:
Andrew Keys is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Charlene Keys - Celebration of Life
Time: May 26, 2021 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 829 1929 6344
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