Keegan Stephan DeLong, age 22, of Mt. Juliet, TN was welcomed into the arms of his Heavenly Father on November 10, 2023.
Keegan was warmly embraced at Heaven’s gates by his father, Kevin DeLong. His grand entrance via helicopter to the rooftop of OSF St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, IL on March 28, 2001 was the first of many signs of what a special soul he would be. The only thing that burned brighter than the fire in his heart was the flaming red hair on his head. The first thing you must know about Keegan DeLong is that the kid had STYLE. He could be found wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, flipping his hair or possibly flipping you off at any given moment.
A Central Catholic High School attendee and 2019 graduate of Pontiac Township High School, Keegan was a young man of many nicknames. “Keegan DoWrong” was a family favorite. One day, the internet told him his name meant “Ball of Fire” or “Strong-Willed”, and we never heard the end of it. With the beautiful hair, and his uncanny ability to captivate any room, our Keegan was remarkably unforgettable.
When “Uncle Keeger” (as named by his nephew Noah) was not burning rubber while blasting loud music or excavating his parent’s property, he could be found body slamming his nephews and nieces into the couch cushions or roaring like a lion chasing them through the playground. He also served as his sisters’ protector and tireless shit-starter for their significant others. Above all else, his softest spot was for his momma. Keegan had a heart of gold and anyone he chose to share it with recognized it was a once in a lifetime gift.
Professionally, “Big Red” was a jack of all trades and a stranger to none – at the young age of 22, he was still forging his own path as a craftsman and we, his family, loved watching him grow. Keegan worked for DeLongs Casual Dining as the “host with the most”, Joe’s Station House Pizza, the Illinois Department of Corrections where he served on the Tactical Response Team, CP Between the Lakes, Junk in the Truck, where he loved to “get jitty” (and would often threaten his boss and close friend, Max Puscheck, to quit if he wasn’t compensated with dinner), groundskeeper on his parents’ property, and most recently, as a technical engineer with James McHugh Construction. In Keegan’s own words, “My value comes from who I am, NOT from what I do.”
A retiree at heart, Keegan traveled the country with his father, Kevin, and was occasionally joined by his working-class brother, Kyle. Keegan loved to tally his mileage, always sure to remind Kyle, “I ride more”. The trio connected deeply through their shared love for the open road, loud exhausts, football, and their faith. Over his athletic career, Keegan was a First Team All-Conference Football Player, intercepting multiple passes and returning them for touchdowns as a defensive end. He was as entertaining on the football field as any place, often pointing into the stands after a sack or celebrating with his teammates who he called his brothers. He also shared his love for football with his cousin AJ DeLong and his Uncle Matt DeLong, making sure to attend as many of AJ’s games as possible.
He is survived by:
Momma – Stephanie Kruger Delong
Siblings – Tessa (Eldon “Sam”) Mackinson, Stephanie “Jr.” DeLong,
Kalee (Jamie Ray) Adams, and Kyle (Sydney) DeLong
Grandparents – Judith DeLong, Jeff and Ina Behrens, Ron and Twyla Kruger
Nieces and Nephews – Charlotte Adams, Noah Mackinson, Harlee Adams, KC Adams, and Stella DeLong (May 2024)
Girlfriend – Alyssa McPherson
Preceded in death by:
Father – Kevin DeLong
Grandfather – Alvin DeLong
Dear Friend – Austin Wenger
A service to remember Keegan will be conducted on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at The Bridge Fellowship, 5066 Lebanon Road, Lebanon, TN with the visitation beginning at 10:30 a.m. and the service starting at 12 p.m. There will also be a service in Keegan’s hometown of Pontiac, Illinois at Pontiac Bible Church at 1611 W. Reynolds St, Pontiac, IL. Visitation will be held on Saturday, November 25, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., services starting at 12 p.m. followed by a lunch in the Church Commons.
If you are unable to attend the services, the family invites you to share your favorite thoughts and memories of Keegan with us online or via Postal Service to 1053 Singing Springs Rd in Mount Juliet TN, 37122.
Arrangements by Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet Road and Weston Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN. (615) 773-2663. www.bondmemorial.com
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