Dennis McKean, with his dog Lillie, ran McKean’s Floor to Ceiling in La Vista. “He had business competitors show up at his visitation,” son Dave said.

He may not have had much money at the time, but a strong business sense helped Dennis McKean start a company that has flourished for nearly six decades.

McKean, founder of McKean’s Floor to Ceiling in La Vista, died Aug. 1. He was 83.

With about $100 in his bank account, McKean decided to open his own floor-covering business in Ralston in 1962.

“We found pictures of the actual checkbook,” said Dave McKean, the youngest of three children. “I think the businessman in him saw that this was the path he should take.”

Daughter Dennise McKean, the oldest of the siblings, recalls the early days of the business.

“I remember coming down for breakfast, and there would be my dad and the one employee he had,” she said. “He worked out of our home the first few years.”

McKean moved his business to several locations throughout Ralston over the next 35 years before eventually relocating to the current location at 10811 Harrison St. in La Vista.

Sign up for The World-Herald's afternoon updates

Receive a summary of the day’s popular and trending stories from Omaha.com.

Darren McKean recalled his father being a tireless worker who made sure his family was taken care of.

“Dad was a great provider,” Darren said. “He may not have always been around, but we understood that because of the dedication he had to his business.”

He still found time to make sure his children had plenty of entertainment at their disposal.

“We had lots of stuff growing up, like mini-bikes and a cabin,” Dennise said. “I remember Dad going to the vacant lot next to our house and building an ice skating area for us.”

All three siblings eventually joined the family business and remain there today. They are joined by three of Dennis’ grandchildren.

“When we first started working here, I think our youth and vigor tried to push Dad into being a little tougher on people because he was such a nice guy,” Darren said. “But Dad never changed. He just wanted people to do the best they could, and if something was going to be a little late, he would work around it.”

It was that sense of how to not only handle a business but also people that has rubbed off on the family over the years.

“He showed us how things were done,” Dave said.

Darren said, “If he invited you on a ride during business hours, you knew you were going to get a talking to. At home, he never raised his voice. He always had that respect that he never needed to yell.”

Dennis retired from the business in 2010, allowing him to travel more with his wife, Donna. They spent winters in Arizona. It also permitted Dennis to shift his focus to caring for dogs; he was active in rescuing Airedales.

The family lived in Ralston and Papillion over the years. Dennis and Donna were charter members of Overland Hills Baptist Church in Papillion, where he also served as a board member. The couple were married 63 years.

Dave said his father was so well thought of that “he had business competitors show up at his visitation.”

In addition to his wife and children, McKean is survived by four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Get the latest development, jobs and retail news, delivered straight to your inbox every day.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.