Well-known and respected onion man Norman “Snap” Keene passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, April 26.
Services will be held on May 20 at 11 a.m., St. Pius X Catholic Church, 805 Central Ave. N, Quincy, WA 98848. A lunch reception will follow the service. Condolences can be sent to PO Box 5068, George, WA 98824, USA, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snap is survived by his wife, Rita, and four daughters: Nichol, Jen, Michelle, and Tina.
OnionBusiness was blessed to have known and worked with Snap for a number of years, and we are profoundly saddened by his death. A man loved within the industry for his indefatigable good humor, Snap Keene was also respected for his onion equipment expertise and the energy and effort he devoted to the industry.
Since 2003 Snap had been a part of the Dutch company Eqraft, where Commercial Manager Rutger Keurhorst said Snap worked with “great enthusiasm and commitment.” Noting his friend and colleague will be dearly missed, Rutger said, “We’ll remember his sense of humor, passion for sports, and dedication to his wife and family.”
Rutger said, “To us, Snap was a very important part of the Eqraft family, a cultural bridge and always in for a joke. The golf clubs always traveled with us, and he liked tradeshows and conventions above all! A people man, a deeply rooted network person, and a ‘dad’ on another continent that knew how to live a life!
“He loved to spend the weekend in Boise and hang out on the Basque block, telling everybody how proud he was his wife was a fourth-generation Basque farm girl. Breakfast in the sunshine after church, paella for dinner and a lot of talks about past and future.”
And Rutger said remembered, “He always dreamed about a shiny Corvette Rita didn’t want him to have, so while on the road as soon as we saw one we took pictures for Rita to show her ‘how good they look on the street.’”
The Eqraft team “spent so many miles on the road, at some point we started driving instead of flying, more flexibility, better seats, and more fun! Snap drove the fun parts, we got the six-hour desert rides or big city traffic – ‘because that is what we are used to in Holland…,’” Rutger wrote, injecting Snap’s humor.
“Snap then settled on the back seat, iPad for work, a snack, his playlist on the car radio, and the speedometer on his phone to make sure we didn’t drive too fast or too slow.” Snap’s comments would be, “Ten percent over is OK,” or, “This is trouble,” or, “My wife would go faster than that,” or, “In the U.S. this is jail time.”
A golf course was part of each trip, as well as “a wine-tasting and some sight-seeing.” Once the team “drove a rental all the way from Texas through California, Nevada, Idaho, and Oregon to end at Snap’s home to have dinner with Rita.” Snap’s comment? “So we drove all this to end up with a salad for dinner?!”
Rutger said Snap was known as a “very dedicated salesman, a person who could be trusted and always there for his customers. He felt like one of them and woke up early every day to have some team meetings and calls with us, the Dutch people, before meeting customers or traveling. Always on point, he understood the market and the business, and all of us loved to work with him. He was one of the ‘older generation’ but had not lost the connection with the younger generation. Back in the days, he liked to chat with people like Garry Bybee, and it was some sort of fun to hear them both blaming all changes, climate, politics, automation, etc.”
Snap considered all his customers “preferred customers, — from Derrell Kelso and Doug Stanley in California to the Torrey Family and Mark Rogowski in New York, Monte at Riverpoint, his friend and Seahawks bud, Treasure Valley with the Baker & Murakami people, another ‘must stop there,’ Golden West, the Watson family and all the guys on Horse Heaven Hills, Jared at CBO, Jake at Blu Sky, Bart at Skone & Connors, and this list keeps going.”
Snap also liked to visit Europe, Eqraft’s main office, sightseeing cultural and historic sites, and he brought his wife Rita many times.
Rutger said, “We always liked how he talked to everybody even on the road, leaving a smile and a happy face wherever he went. The only things he hated were slow service in a bar or restaurant and slow traffic on the left lane, saying, ‘It’s either a woman or a Subaru.’”
A favorite saying of Snap’s that Rutger shared is this “I will never retire, but if I do, you can find me on Maui, in shorts and flip-flops on the beach.”
From us all – you are missed, Snap.
Many thanks to Rutger for sending cherished photos of Snap and family as well as his adventures working with the team at Eqraft. Click on photos to enlarge and scroll.