CAROLE "IFE" KEENE was born Carole Ann Kilgore. The daughter of Wells and Johnnie Mae Kilgore, she moved to Camden with her parents and sisters Cynthia and Brenda in 1951, shortly before entering the second grade at the Broadway Elementary School. The Kilgore family lived at 323 Mickle Street, across the street from the home of poet Walt Whitman. 

Carole Kilgore went on to attend Pyne Point Junior High School in North Camden, and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School on Federal Street in East Camden in 1962, before leaving Camden for Howard University in Washington, DC. She married William ‘Damani’ Keene during her senior year at Howard. During the early 1970s she adopted the name "Ifetayo", which was shortened to "Ife". After a long career as a technical writer, she published her first book, Cancer of the Spirit.

After living for many years in Lanham, Maryland, Carole and William Keene moved to Panama, where they bought  home 90 minutes from Panama City which they have named "Sunset Dreams". As of this writing, she is busy producing a Soothe Our Souls (SOS) Women’s Retreat, a week long event that will be held in Amador, Panama in November of 2006. 

Carole "Ife" Keene maintains a website at

Camden Courier * April 10, 1925

Camden Roots Forever Spreading
Author and Publisher Sponsors Women’s Retreat in Panama

The foundation of her life was built in a house that once stood diagonally across from the Walt Whitman House.  Carole Ann Kilgore, now, Carole ‘Ife’ Keene, lived most of her childhood life at 323 Mickle Street in Camden, an area then referred to as Third Ward. The Walt Whitman house still stands today on, now, Mickle Boulevard. 

Carole Ann and her two sisters, Cynthia Kilgore Jackson and Brenda Kilgore Brown, migrated from Brevard, N.C. with their parents, Wells and Johnnie Mae Kilgore, a few months before she began second grade.  One of her first memorable experiences in Camden, was the laughter she received from some of the neighborhood kids, when she excitedly said, “Look down yonder!”

Carole Ann attended Broadway Elementary, Pyne Poynt Jr. High and Woodrow Wilson High Schools.  She graduated from Woodrow Wilson in 1962.   She left Camden in the fall of 1962, and headed for Howard University in Washington, DC.   There, she met and  married her college sweetheart, William ‘Damani’ Keene, in her senior year.

Carole adopted a new name, Ifetayo, in the mid-seventies.  It is a Yoruba name from Nigeria which means, “love brings happiness.”  Ifetayo was shortened to Ife (which means “love”) by family and friends and is pronounced “ee-fay”. 

On May 17, 2004, Ife’s first book, Cancer of the Spirit, was released.  The book shares life-stories of ten women ranging in age from 23 to 79, and weaves touching stories about the lives of the women into a colorful quilt of all-to-human struggles and exhilarating triumphs.  Each story addresses a familiar struggle that women face and how these ten women overcame them.  With one exception, all of the stories are fictitious.  That story is the author’s own.

A term coined by the author, “cancer of the spirit” is a debilitating condition caused by circumstances, events or situations that cripple your ability to cope with everyday living.  It can be triggered by physical or mental problems and disables you to some extent.  It temporarily alters who you are, thus having an adverse effect on the way you approach life.

A physical cancer survivor as well (13-year breast cancer survivor), Ife is as strong as ever.  She is now tirelessly working on a Soothe Our Souls (SOS) Women’s Retreat that will be held in Panama, November 5 – 12, 2006, at the Country Inn and Suites Hotel and Resort in Amador.  The retreat is an outgrowth of Cancer of the Spirit.  Ife says, “My desire is to make a difference in the lives of others, particularly women.  I decided the best way to accomplish this goal was to write a book.  I spent 26 years in the information systems field, where I did a voluminous amount of technical writing.  Cancer of the Spirit is my first foray into a different genre of writing.”

Soothe Our Souls has become the mission of what began as a project – the writing of Cancer of the Spirit.  That mission is to empower women and assist them in continuing to enhance their self-esteem.  The retreat will focus on five areas, which are:  Health & Wellness, Personal & Professional Enhancement, Spiritual Rejuvenation, Relationship Connections & Reconnections and Life Styles.