The Rev. E. Michaella Keener died at the age of 88 on February 17, 2023 in her home in the senior community of Kendal in Kennett Square, PA.
Michaella was born in Hartford, CT to Esther C. Christie and Ashley Nixon Keener. She graduated from Nursing school in Rhode Island and went on to be a psychiatric nurse; a visiting nurse in Boston, MA; and a social worker in suicide prevention in Detroit, MI. Following her nursing career she went on to receive her Masters of Divinity degree at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. She was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1983 in Detroit, MI. In 1986, she became the first women rector in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania at St. Giles Episcopal Church in Upper Darby, PA. During her tenure at St. Giles Church, she led the development of a support care network for people without permanent shelter. It was in this capacity that she met her husband, Leland (Lee) M. DeWoody, a regular volunteer at their soup kitchen.
Michaella lived fully and with conviction. She enjoyed quilting, gourmet cooking, writing, genealogy, gardening and continued to be involved in social justice advocacy with a passion for women’s rights, indigenous people, world peace, and nuclear disarmament.
Michaella is survived by her husband Leland M. DeWoody; brother William R. Christie; nieces Anna Michaella Christie, Molly Rose Christie; nephew Nicholas A. Christie, her extended family and many close friends and colleagues. A private graveside service is planned.