The Coastal Star

Obituary – Richard Keresey: Delray Beach



By Ron Hayes



DELRAY BEACH — Not long ago, as his health failed and his birthday neared, Dick Keresey told his son, Jim,
“You know, I think I’d like to have my 94th birthday. I think it’ll be my
going-away party.”

Richard
Keresey turned 94 on May 8 and went away four days later.

A
resident of the St. Andrew’s Club since 1994, Mr. Keresey died May 12. Barbara
Keresey, his wife of 65 years, had passed away last July.

“He
was an amazing guy who had a wonderfully exciting life,” said his son. “He
lived about five lives compared to most people — just on the PT boat alone.”

During
World War II, Mr. Keresey was the skipper of PT-105, patrolling the Solomon
Islands with another young Navy man named Kennedy, who skippered the PT-109.

After
the war, Jack Kennedy went into politics, Dick Keresey into law. And more than
50 years later, when he was 80, Mr. Keresey wrote PT-105, a memoir of his World War II service.

“His
account is funny, scary, melancholy, exciting and angry,” wrote American Heritage magazine after its
publication by the Naval Institute Press in 1996. The book remains in print.

In
2002, Mr. Keresey returned to the Solomon Islands with undersea explorer Robert
Ballard and Maxwell Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, on a successful
quest for the remains of PT-109. Mr. Keresey appears in The Search for Kennedy’s PT-109, a documentary film broadcast on
the National Geographic Explorer series in 2002.

Born
in Hoboken, N.J., Richard Keresey was a graduate of Dartmouth College and
Columbia University, where he earned a law degree in 1941. He retired in 1980
as an associate general counsel of Exxon Corp.

An
avid golfer and fly fisherman, he was a member of the Beaverkill Trout Club. In
later years, he turned to bridge, often playing five days a week after his
wife’s death.

Mr.
Keresey wrote a book late in life, his son said, because he had loved books all
his life.

“One
day when I was about 15, Dad came home and found me reading Gone With The Wind,” Jim Keresey
recalled.

“What
are you reading that trash for?” his father snapped. “You should be reading War and Peace.”

Jim
Keresey is 63 now, and he still hasn’t read War
and Peace
.

“But
my son Andrew has,” he adds, “and he enjoyed it. So we skipped a generation.”

In
addition to Jim, Mr. Keresey is survived by a second son, Dick; two daughters,
Mary and Barbara, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A
funeral Mass was celebrated May 17 at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in
Delray Beach.

Contributions
in Mr. Keresey’s memory may be made to Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 East
AVenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33407.

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