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John "Jack" M. O’Keeffe ’50, Nov. 6, 2012. Born February 18, 1927 to John M. Sr. and Lou O’Keeffe in Stockton, Calif. Loving husband to Audrey Jean O’Keeffe who preceded Jack in death this year. Adoring father of John M. "Spike" O’Keeffe III (Joan), Cynthia Nelson, Carolyn Chvosta (Bill), Rebecca England (Jack), Clark O’Keeffe (Elise) and Patricia See (Dave). Proud grandfather of Bryan and Chris Nelson, Kelly Bassett and Megan O’Keeffe, Jennifer Teresinski and Emily Moses, Malissa Crowder, Carly and Molly O’Keeffe, Joe and Drew See. Eleven adored great grandchildren with three more on the way! Survived by his brother David O’Keeffe ’53 and his wife Janelle of Colorado Springs. Uncle and In-law to many whom he loved dearly.
Jack grew up in San Jose, Calif., across from the Rose Garden. He graduated from Bellarmine High School and Santa Clara University. During both of these experiences, and with his father’s guidance, he was a devout Roman Catholic. It was a devotion that he took seriously every day of his life. Following his graduation from Santa Clara University in 1950, (after a stint in the Maritime Service at the end of World War II), he began a lifelong love for the SCU athletic program. The first song his children learned growing up was the Santa Clara fight song and many family events, even weddings, were culminated with a rendition of "All Hail to SCU!" He attended the 1950 SCU Orange Bowl victory and could sing the “SCU Fight Song” up until his death.
While attending SCU he met Audrey Jean Alexander at a dance with Dominican College. Years later he swore the first time he saw her she had a bright light and a halo over her head. They were married in 1950. That same year he went to work for IBM and his first promotion was as branch manager in Richmond, Calif. In 1963 he became a key account manager at the Oakland IBM branch. At this time he moved his family to Lafayette, Calif., and his Crofton Court home became the center of activity for his children, their friends, nieces and nephews. Special times were spent in the family Lake Tahoe home that he helped build.
As his children were growing up he volunteered at the St. Paul’s Parents Club, Kiwanis Club, The Salvation Army and Knights of Columbus and coached both basketball and baseball. He attended nearly every game, recital, and horseshow that his children participated in. He encouraged this development and was eager to learn of their experiences.
In the Maritime Service he developed a love of ships and the sea. In 1983 and after his retirement from IBM, he and Audrey built the home of their dreams in Bethel Island. He was able to fulfill his love of the sea owning many boats and enjoying all the adventures a boat on the Delta waters could offer. Three of his daughters owned floating homes on his marina property. Every summer brought celebrations and his grandchildren spent cherished time in and around the water and at their home.
In retirement, he sold real estate for Boyd Realty in Bethel Island, volunteered with Audrey at the Bethel Island Lions Club, belonged to the Bethel Island Chamber of Commerce, the San Joaquin Yacht Club and St. Anthony’s Church in Oakley . He announced the "Frozen Bun Run" on New Year’s Day for many years. In 1977 he started a golf tournament with two of his son-in-laws. For Jack this was a life changing event. The "Little Crosby", named for many years the JOK and eventually the JO’KN Golf Tournament, benefited many worthy causes including Bethel Island Jr. Golf, Scout Hall, St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Rossmoor and eventually Stand Up 2 Cancer. He spent months planning the tournament and his family used the event as a vehicle for yearly reunions with their friends. Every family member was involved in the tournament, either playing in it or planning the events of the day. As a Real Estate agent he invited many clients and potential clients. The tournament dinner and awards party was held at Jack and Audrey’s Bethel Island home. He and Audrey were gracious hosts and he ended each tournament, "Hope you had a good time, see you next year."
So we say "goodbye" to Jack O’Keeffe, Dad, Brother, Uncle, Father-in-Law, Grandfather and Great Grandfather. We are comforted to know he is now reunited with his wife Audrey. She is introducing him to all heaven has to offer and next time you see hail the size of golf balls know that is a sign that a JO’KN foursome has teed off at Heavenly Fairways. Invitations are pending, heaven sent.