Leo J. Keena

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Leo J. Keena
Leo Keena.jpg
Keena cropped from 1897 University of Michigan team photograph
Born April 12, 1878
Detroit, Michigan
Died 1967 (aged 88–89)
Citizenship United States
Alma mater University of Michigan
Known for Diplomat

Leo Japathet Keena[1] (April 12, 1878 – 1967) was an American football player and diplomat.

Early years[edit]

Keena was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1878, the son of James T. Keena and Henrietta (Boyle) Keena. His father was a lawyer who later became the president of the Peoples State Bank of Detroit.[2]

University of Michigan[edit]

Keena played college football as a fullback and kicker for the University of Michigan from 1897 to 1899.[3] He served in the United States Navy as a seaman on the auxiliary cruiser USS Yosemite during the Spanish–American War.[4]

Diplomatic career[edit]

After receiving his degree, Keena became a diplomat for the United States. He was married in August 1906 to Eleanor Clarke. Keena's early diplomatic posts include service as U.S. Consul in Chihuahua, Mexico (1909–10), U.S. Counsel to Florence, Italy (1910–14),[5] U.S. Consul General in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1914–15),[6][7] U.S. Consul General in Valparaíso, Chile (1915–19), U.S. Consul General in Zürich, Switzerland (1919–20),[8][9] U.S. Consul General in Warsaw, Poland (1920–22),[10] U.S. Consul in Liverpool, England (1924–26), U.S. Counsul General in Havana, Cuba (1927–29), and U.S. Counsul General in Paris (1929–32).[11][12] He was appointed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and served as the United States Ambassador to Honduras from February 1935 to May 1937 and as United States Ambassador to South Africa from July 1937 to August 1942.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keena's middle name is listed as Japathet in the University of Michigan yearbook, the Michiganensian for 1899, at page 235. Later sources refer to him by the middle name "John."
  2. ^ 33 Banking L. J. 795 (1916).
  3. ^ "Forced Keena to Punt: U. of M. Scrubs Kept the 'Varsity Eleven Busy Yesterday". Detroit Free Press. October 14, 1899. 
  4. ^ "Michigan in the War". The Michigan Alumnus. December 1898. p. 89. 
  5. ^ "Detroiter Becomes a Consul in Italy". Detroit Free Press. December 13, 1910. 
  6. ^ "Buenos Aires Regrets Departure of Keena: Business Houses Protest Transfer of U. S. Consul-General and Commerce Board Gives Him Dinner". Detroit Free Press. May 4, 1915. 
  7. ^ "President Announces Consular Nominations". Meriden Morning Record. April 10, 1914. 
  8. ^ "Bomb Is Exploded Under U.S. Consulate". The Atlanta Constitution. March 5, 1920. 
  9. ^ "American Consulate at Zurich Bombed". Christian Science Monitor. March 5, 1920. 
  10. ^ "Death Trails Pole Refugees: American Consul General at Warsaw Bares Horrors of Exodus From Russia". Detroit Free Press. August 11, 1922. 
  11. ^ "Appointed to Paris as Counsel General: Leo J. Keena of Detroit Is Transferred to French Capital From Havana". The New York Times. November 3, 1929. 
  12. ^ "Keena Is Elevated to Consul General". Detroit Free Press. December 30, 1934. p. 13. 
  13. ^ "Index to Politicians: Keat to Keena". The Political Graveyard. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Ralph J. Totten
United States Ambassador to South Africa
Succeeded by
Lincoln MacVeagh