Everything changed in October, when Keo found out he had liver cancer. When he died Jan. 14, he was just 41.
"I think I have to get used to it," his wife, Leng Keo, 34, said yesterday, her eyes teary, as she sat in her Olney home. "But, it's me and the kids, and I need him a lot."
Maria Yuen, a city cop and family friend, said: "Ray was the rock for the whole family. . . . He was always smiling, always happy."
Keo most recently worked in South Philly's 3rd District. His platoon commander and friend, Lt. David Merrick; Keo's partner, Officer Felicia Battles; and Sgt. Lystra Hernandez have planned a benefit for his family on Saturday.
Leng Keo, who works in a nail salon, believes that her husband's cancer was caused by hepatitis B and diabetes. "He doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, nothing," she said, still speaking of her husband in the present tense.
Behind her, in the living room, the family had set up a Buddhist shrine, where they offer Keo food each day. Yesterday, Katharine had set out a bowl of rice porridge and another with a fried egg.
"That's how he liked [his eggs]," his wife said.
The two met when she was a bridesmaid and he the best man at a wedding here. A year later he went to get Chinese food at a stand at 17th and Arch streets, where Leng had worked with her parents. He recognized her from before, then began courting her. They married when she was 18.
After his dad was killed, Keo fled Cambodia with his mother, Ngeth Keo, his eight siblings and another boy his mom took on as a foster son. Two sisters died in the Thai refugee camp where they ended up. The family came to the U.S. as refugees in 1983.
Saturday's beef-and-beer benefit is from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, Spring Garden Street near 13th. Tickets, at $30, can be bought at the door. Donations also can be sent to the family. Checks made out to Leng Keo may be mailed to: The Leng Keo Fund, 920 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, PA. 19107.