- Mark Fisher Staff Writer
A visitation and memorial service are scheduled for today, Saturday June 24, for a Kettering restaurant owner who regulars say made it a point to thank every diner as they left his eatery.
Jim Keadey, owner of KD’s Kettering BBQ at 3911 Marshall Road, died Monday night at Kettering Medical Center. He was 63.
Visitation will be held from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. today, Saturday, June 24, at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 East Stroop Road in Kettering, with a memorial service to follow at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to SICSA or Dayton Humane Society.
Mr. Keadey had an extensive career in the Dayton-area food-service scene before founding his own eatery. An Oakwood High School graduate who went on to graduate from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, he worked at multiple Dayton-area restaurants — including the Peerless Mill, Peasant Stock and Murray’s Place — before founding KD’s Kettering BBQ in 2001.
The restaurant will be closed for one day, Saturday June 24, in memory of Mr. Keadey. It does not have Sunday hours, but will reopen Monday, June 26, and will continue in business, serving lunch and dinner six days a week with its regular hours going forward, according to Elizabeth Yinger, the restaurant’s long-time manager. Mr. Keadey’s wife Marianne is co-owner of the restaurant.
KD’s Kettering BBQ customers responded to news of Mr. Keadey’s passing with dozens of expressions of sympathy on the restaurant’s Facebook page, including this one that reads, “Jimmy was the sweetest soul and always had gracious hospitality.”
That sentiment was shared by regulars accustomed to chatting with the restaurant owner as he sat in his customary spot at the small counter inside the restaurant.
“He was the most customer-focused, customer-friendly restaurant owner I’ve met in my lifetime,” Paul Leonard, former Ohio lieutenant governor, former Dayton mayor and local attorney, said in a phone interview. “He was a kind man, and a father figure to his employees.”
Leonard was a regular customer for nearly 15 years and said he spent quite a bit of time at the counter talking with Mr. Keadey and other restaurant customers.
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“It was like talking around the kitchen table with family,” Leonard said.
“Jim loved four things: his wife Marianne; his restaurant; baseball; and his animals, which were all rescues. Most of the time, we were talking about one of those four things.”
Another regular, Matt Goeller, said he first met Mr. Keadey on a Sunday shortly after the restaurant opened more than 15 years ago.
“I called the restaurant, and he answered the phone,” Goeller said. “I wanted to order a few slabs of ribs for a football game party that we were hosting.
“Jim informed me that the restaurant was closed on Sundays, but he would be there for a few hours and was happy to fire up the grill and cook my ribs. I have been a regular customer ever since.
“He took a genuine interest in all of his guests. I do not ever recall someone leaving without his personal thanks for their business,” Goeller said.
A visitation will be held from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 East Stroop Road in Kettering, with a memorial service to follow at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to SICSA or Dayton Humane Society.