O’Keefe, Gerard Michael
Beloved Patriarch of the O’Keefe clan of Ocean Park, Gerry left us December 30, 2021, surrounded by family, love and music.
Gerry was born in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1931. Both his parents were teachers and he and his 5 siblings grew up on a large property in the country. Upon graduating from high school, he studied Pharmacy for 2 years in Carlow and decided that Pharmacology was not for him. His adventures led him to “digs” in Dublin where he applied and was asked to join the Bank of Ireland. During his time in Dublin there was much music, laughter, and craic. He was a member of Our Lady’s Choral Society for which one had to audition. He travelled around the country with the choral society. He was a well-developed Tenor and for the rest of his life was asked to sing at more events than can be counted. His love of sport and continued as well throughout his life.
Setting his enterprising spirit westward, he travelled to Canada in 1957 and worked in banking in Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver where he studied Urban Land Economics and ascended to AVP Real Estate and Branch Development with HSBC. Known as a gentleman whether in business or in leisure, Gerry was admired, respected, and well liked. A true grinder, he worked tirelessly at his expertise and in his conviction to support his family.
Gerry met and married Doreen O’Keefe (nee Watson) in Calgary in 1959 and they had four children: Colleen, Kathleen, Shannon, and Sean. Gerry and Doreen travelled from Calgary to Montreal and eventually settled in Ocean Park near White Rock in 1973. Family was the central concept in Gerry’s life - a selfless man who once intonated, “parenting is serious business”. Leading by example, Gerry followed the road less travelled. Although he had left Ireland, he instilled the pride of Erin in his four children who continue to travel to Ireland regularly.
Much to Gerry’s delight, he discovered many other emigrants from Ireland in the White Rock area and was one of the founding members of the Irish Club of White Rock, which was established 1982. Thus, the St. Patrick’s night was born with many years of gaiety at Star of the Sea parish hall in White Rock. He started Irish Language classes (Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann), sang with the Good Shepherd Church choir, contributed yearly to the Elks Club Children’s Christmas party, was a member of Come Share society, Lions Club, President of Kwomais Club, Crescent Housing, and Good Shepherd Church. He came up with the name for Semiahmoo Mall and was instrumental in implementing the Whaling Wall painting on the north side of HSBC in White Rock
Gerry was a runner well before it ever became popular, killed it on the squash court, and when he couldn’t run anymore, he took up cycling and going to the gym.
Gerry leaves 12 Grandchildren: Chad, Jessica and Cassidy Morrice, (Kathy - Ken), Conor and Brogan O’Keefe (Colleen), Luigi and Francesco Mandarino, (Shannon & Frank), Gillian, Kerry, Liam, Rory and Ethan O’Keefe (Sean) all who loved him dearly and visited him at home often. Dad had an army of family who did what they could when they could for their parents/grandparents.
Gerry is survived by his beloved wife of 62 years, Doreen, his children, grandchildren, his sister Noreen O’Keefe of Dublin, Ireland, and nephews and nieces in England.
Services for Gerard will be held April 8, 2022 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, South Surrey at 2:00PM followed by a reception at the Elks Hall in White Rock at 3:30PM.
We will always remember this wonderful man. His kindness and love are with him in peace. Condolences with love and prayers for the family. The Hoflins
What a great life your father had giving himself to family and community I’m glad you could finally have a service for him I’m sorry I won’t be able to be there I’m going to be in Palm Springs give my love to your family
Tamara and I will be at the Service and Wake. Gerry Greenstone
My deepest heartfelt sympathies to the O'Keefe family. God speed and be with you all.