Keane, John (1899–1971), chemist, was born 30 November 1899 in Dublin, the son of John Keane, of Gowerhass, Co. Clare, a customs and excise officer, and Ellen Keane (née McKenna). The eldest of three children, he had one brother (Conor) and one sister (Anne). He graduated from UCD in 1917 with a degree in science. Under the supervision of Hugh Ryan (qv), professor of chemistry, he carried out postgraduate research and was subsequently awarded M.Sc. (1918) and Ph.D. (1922).
Keane was appointed assistant lecturer in chemistry at UCD in 1921 and lecturer in 1935. He produced a steady stream of research papers between 1924 and 1950, including papers on the chemical constituents of Irish lichens with T. J. Nolan (qv), professor of chemistry (1932–45). Most of these were published in the Scientific Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society, but two appeared in the premier science journal Nature (1933, 1944). Keane was honorary secretary (1926–8) (jointly) of the Chemical Association of Ireland, later renamed the Irish Chemical Association (1936), of which he was vice-president (1951–2). He retired in September 1960 because of ill health, but kept in touch with his former colleagues.
Keane was a painstaking and hardworking teacher who spared no effort in the thorough performance of all work he undertook. He played football in his youth and remained interested in it throughout his life. His other activities included opera and playing bridge, and he was a member of the RDS. He was an active member of the Legion of Mary before his marriage. Among his close personal friends were fellow scientists and doctors Professor Michael Casey of Maynooth, Rev. Martin Brennan of UCD, and John Patrick Shanley (qv) of Temple Street. On 28 September 1932 he married Maura Loughran (d. 14 May 1959) at the University Church, St Stephen's Green, Dublin. She was the daughter of farmers Thomas and Mary Loughran, of Cullyhanna, Co. Armagh. They had five children, two of whom died in infancy, leaving two daughters (Mary and Bernadette) and a son (Conor). They lived at St Kevin's Park, Dartry, and later at Dartmouth Square, Ranelagh. Keane died 2 June 1971 in Dublin.