A longtime Houston insurance agent is retiring.

David Keeney, agent for Shelter Insurance, will end a 32 1/2-year run in the position Thursday, Sept. 30.

“Thank you for your friendship and patronage, and for the trust you have shown in Shelter and in my agency,” Keeney wrote in a letter to customers.

Keeney is a native of Houston who graduated from Houston High School before attending Missouri State University in Springfield (when it was still Southwest Missouri State). Prior to taking the position with the Shelter office on Grand Avenue in downtown Houston, Keeney worked as an adjuster for an independent firm in Columbia and then at West Plains. He met his wife, Carol, in Columbia, and she has worked with him ever since.

“When I came here, it was new job, new wife, new house,” Keeney said, “all in the space of about 30 days. It was a lot of things crammed into a short period of time.”

Keeney’s replacement is Summersville native Airika Barnett-Wiseman, who has worked for another Houston insurance business for more than four years. Barnett-Wiseman is a Summersville High School graduate who attended Missouri State University – West Plains for two years and then earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Columbia College.

She worked in the banking industry for 17 years before switching to insurance in 2017, and will service all of Keeney’s accounts.

“I’m excited to do this,” Barnett-Wiseman said. “It’s a great opportunity and I love working with insurance, the public and the community. When I heard about this position being available, I thought I should do everything I could to get it.”

“It’s a rigorous process to go through to get this,” Keeney said. “Shelter doesn’t take this position lightly.”

Keeney said he and Carol will continue to live in Houston, and he plans to tend to a few hobbies and do some cattle farming. His family’s tract is approaching Century Farm status.

“I had a great experience with everybody,” Keeney said. “The only problem I have with retiring is I’m going to miss the interaction with the clients. I won’t miss the technology as much, but that daily interaction with the people – and I consider a lot of them friends – almost kept me here a few more years.”

The Shelter Insurance office is at 203 N. Grand Ave. The phone number is 417-967-4112.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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