Obit: John O'Keefe

Obit: John O'Keefe

November 14th, 2018 in Obituaries
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John Patrick O'Keefe, 92, of Chattanooga passed peacefully in his home on Nov. 12, 2018. John was born in New York City on Oct. 22, 1926, to Patrick O'Keefe of County Mayo and Sally Craven of County Galway, Ireland. Coming of age during the Great Depression as the son of immigrant parents, he began working after school delivering groceries at age 8. In his teens, he worked as an usher at the Metropolitan Opera. He entered the Navy V-5 pilot training program in 1944, and was in V-12 training at Dartmouth College when the war ended. He used his military victory bonus points to buy a television for his parents, and eventually helped them buy their first house. He graduated from Manhattan College and later moved to Chattanooga in 1967.  He spent his professional life working as a Human Resources Director for GAF, Polysar, and BASF. He retired in 1993, and turned his energy to a life-long passion for wildlife by volunteering for many happy years at the Tennessee Aquarium. Gentle and kind, he loved reading, ice cream, nature, animals, Braves baseball, Rangers hockey, and Notre Dame football. He was a member of St. Stephen's Catholic Church, as well as being a proud Irishman, loving father, brother, and grandfather. Most importantly, he was a devoted husband who spent 62 years married to the love of his life, his dear Patsy Devine O'Keefe. He often noted that the happiest moment of his life was when she accepted his marriage proposal. He was predeceased by his brother, Gene. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; and their six children, sons, Kevin and Brian (Carla) and daughters, Mary Ellen (Michael) Cahill, Dolores, Jackie (Luke) Powers, and Sheila (Richard) Lloyd. John is also survived by eight grandchildren, Patrick, Bridget, and Maura O'Keefe; Devin and Erin O'Keefe; Kathleen Cahill; Phoebe and John Powers. He is also survived by his sister, Kathleen (Tom) Ryan. A Funeral Mass will be held in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on Saturday Nov. 17, 2018, at 12 p.m. with Father Mike Nolan officiating. The family will receive friends at the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home on Friday evening from 4 to 8 p.m. He will be laid to rest in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Tennessee Aquarium. Arrangements are under the care of Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist East Chapel, 404 S. Moore Rd. East Ridge, TN 37412. Please share your thoughts and memories at www.ChattanoogaEastChapel.com


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