Robin Lynn Keener Profile Photo
1959 Robin Lynn Keener 2024

Robin Lynn Keener

August 4, 1959 — March 13, 2024

Bel Air

Robin Keener, age 64, of Bel Air, MD, passed away peacefully at her home on March 13, 2024. Born on August 4th, 1959, in Towson, MD, she was the daughter of the late Carl and Ellen Dolores Keener. Robin is survived by her two sisters, Penny and Lorie; five nieces; countless friends; her tenacious cat, Oliver; and by the countless women who she helped navigate their sobriety and recovery journeys, as a founder of the Homecoming Project.
Raised in Timonium, MD, Robin’s early years were filled with family, a love for music, animals and summers in Lewes, DE.  From an early age, Robin was a force of nature. She was strong-willed, charming, stubborn at times, quick-witted and could make any room erupt with laughter – traits she maintained throughout her life.
At 29, Robin became a lifelong member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). She was an integral part of the AA Bel Air Women’s Group, where she was the pre-meeting dinner organizer. Her friends considered those dinners to be nearly as important as the meetings themselves. Throughout her 35 years in AA, she befriended many members; it did not matter their age, race, religion, sexual orientation or status – Robin saw only the person. She was known for her radical candor and “tell it like it is” attitude (which is exactly what other alcoholics need to hear), but she always served it up with a side of humor.
Robin worked for many years developing her business acumen managing sporting goods stores, then at the Things Remembered kiosk at Harford Mall. Robin’s work ethic and frugal practices enabled her to be able to retire at age 50, but her plans were foiled when her friend and sponsor, Helen Carpenter, informed her that she was too young to retire and needed to be of service to more women in recovery. Robin took this to heart and began volunteering as the “maintenance man” at the Homecoming Women’s Center in 2004. She quickly uncovered the mismanagement of the program and disrepair of the houses and set forth to improve the center. The process to “go help those women” was not without struggle. They were evicted from the houses and Robin, as the new Executive Director, along with board members Jerry Carpenter and Ariel Basham, set out to find housing for them. 
In 2006, Robin and Jerry founded Homecoming Project, Inc., a new program and a fresh start that ultimately led to hundreds of women achieving long-term recovery.
Robin had a vision for The Homecoming Project, she wanted to develop a “real” program that was safe, legitimate and successful. She worked closely with Micki Thomas, a local pioneer in the field of addiction recovery, to create a relapse prevention curriculum and the material needed to gain state accreditation. At the Homecoming Project, Robin became a mentor, mother-figure, truth-teller, and supporter for the women in the house, seeking nothing in return but for them to stay in recovery and have lives worth living.
Robin’s commitment is evidenced by the success of the program – approximately 80% of Homecoming graduates remain independent and successful in their recovery, far-exceeding the national average.
Robin’s reputation led her to serve on several community boards, including as board treasurer for the Harford County Office on Mental Health. Along the way, Robin built lifelong friendships and a network of allies in the fight against addiction and a better community, working closely with Joe Ryan, of the Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy; Mary Chance, former Director of Community Services for Harford County; the Dresher Foundation; Linda Williams of ACR, and many more. Gaining funding equity for women in recovery was important to Robin. 
Robin was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer almost 10 years ago, evidence of how strong her fighting spirit was. She carried herself with dignity, strength and humor throughout her illness. And despite the cancer, she continued her work – ensuring that The Homecoming Project would remain a safe home for women in recovery long after her passing. The texts, phone calls, letters and cards she received throughout her battle with cancer were a great source of happiness for her, as were her close friends who helped care for her when she needed to “hang up her Wonder Woman Cape.”
Robin Keener was authentically herself to her last day and she taught others to do the same.  She was a staunch defender of the right to smoke. Robin believed that you should never pay for something you could learn to do for yourself. She cared about her neighbors, near and far, and stayed politically aware (see her Facebook memes for more info). She was a private person but was wildly sentimental and had an enormous heart.
 
She will be remembered as a fearless leader and supporter in the recovery community, a friend, a sister, “crazy Aunt Robin,” and one of the most interesting people in the community.  
 
Robin’s presence will be missed dearly by the thousands of lives she touched in her too-short 64 years on earth. All those left behind to grieve Robin’s passing may honor her by helping their community, especially those suffering with substance use, and her work at Homecoming. And by reading page 417 in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. 
 A celebration of life for Robin will be held on Monday, April 8th, 2024, at Mt. Zion Church,1643 E Churchville Rd, Bel Air, MD 21015 from 11-3. Tributes to Robin will be given at 12 followed by food and fellowship. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to Homecoming Project, Inc. P.O. Box 1190, Bel Air, MD 21014.  


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