In an event emblematic of the state of local sporting goods stores in the U.S., another iconic sports shop is now shuttered in the Midwest. Pat Keeney, co-owner of Keeney's Sporting Goods in Elgin, IL, passed away last Monday, less than two months after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She was 62 years old.


Keeney, who had been running the store since her father's death in 1993, preceded her mother and co-owner in the business, Kathryn Keeney, in death by just four days. The elder Keeney, 90 years old, reportedly died on New Year's Eve, the day of her daughter's funeral, from colon and kidney failure. Kathryn had worked in the family store, doing the bookkeeping and accounting, until she was 85 years old. The family's history as retail business owners in Elgin reportedly dates back 127 years. The family has operated a store in Elgin since 1883, first as a general store, then a drug store and finally a sporting goods store. The store has been at its present location since 1945.


Volunteers have helped run the store since the younger Keeney became ill. The store is now in the hands of the family's attorney. Pat had been caring of her aging mother until she was hospitalized. Kathryn was moved to nursing care, but was hospitalized herself shortly thereafter. While Pat fought the cancer that eventually took her life, friends stepped in to keep Keeney's sporting goods and antiques business open to bring in income for both Keeney women.


Tonya Hudson, executive director of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, led more than 50 people in the store in a brief closing ceremony last week. “You weren't just a customer if you came into her store. You were a friend and she had friends from all walks of life,” Hudson told the local paper. “They were as diverse as the products in her store.”