John Edwin McKeever, 90, a real estate developer and broker who helped develop Silver Spring, died Oct. 28 at the National Lutheran Home in Rockville of complications related to bladder cancer. He had lived in the area off and on since 1948.
Mr. McKeever was born in Sapulpa, Okla., and raised in the District. He was a member of the first graduating class of Blessed Sacrament School in 1928. After graduating from St. John's High School in 1932 and briefly attending the National Law School (forerunner to the George Washington University School of Law), he worked for Gulf Oil and later owned and operated the Sunoco station at River Road and Wisconsin Avenue NW.
At the start of World War II, having served in the Maryland National Guard, he sought to enlist in the military as a pilot; he had trained extensively at Hyde Field (now the site of the Pentagon) and Congressional Airport in Montgomery County (now Congressional Shopping Center). But with vision poorer than 20/20, he was turned down. He joined the Airline War Training Institute, a Washington-based organization that trained pilots for the war effort. There, he was known for his celestial navigation expertise. When AWTI consolidated with the Army Air Corps, he became a co-pilot and pilot for TACA Airlines, moving with his family to Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and El Salvador.
He returned home to Washington in 1948 and got involved in real estate, first with the Leo M. Bernstein Co. in the District and later as a member of the firm of Eig & McKeever. The company was involved in commercial and residential development in Silver Spring and Gaithersburg, including the Washingtonian complex in Gaithersburg and the first high-rise residential structure in the Washington area, the Washingtonian Tower.
He was an early member of the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission, beginning in 1967, and also served as the court-ordered receiver of First Continental Savings & Loan.
He retired in 1984 and moved to St. Thomas. He returned to the Washington area in the early 1990s. He continued flying his own plane and boating in the Caribbean and the Chesapeake throughout most of his life. He was a longtime member of Congressional Country Club.
Mr. McKeever's wife of 64 years, Betty Carroll McKeever, died in 2001.
Survivors include two children, Patrick C. McKeever of Potomac and Joan F. Herrema of Washington, Va.; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.