Another break in the posting. This time to sit with my family during my Dad's last few days of life and then to help my Mom get through the difficult first days after his death.
I know that words can sometimes help to heal when the heart seems most broken. I found this out as I wrote my Dad's obituary and then a eulogy that I delivered at the visitation the night before his funeral. I appreciated the words of comfort and sympathy received in cards, letters, phone calls, and the eulogies of my two sisters, my brother, my father's sisters and brothers, and from two close friends of my father. At the funeral, the priest's words of comfort helped, too. So did all the hugs and warm greetings from those who attended the visitation, the funeral mass, and the reception at my parent's home following the funeral. Knowing that my father, my mother, and my family were so loved brought some solace to my soul and helped to dull the pain in my heart; but the pain is still there.
Now, I'm told, it's all about time. Time for my mother, my sisters, my brothers, my children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, my aunts, uncles and cousins, for all those who were touched by my father and who grieve his passing. Time to think about a world that no longer contains his warmth, his humor, and his hugs. Time to think about his caring heart, his generosity of spirit, and his unconditional love for all of us. Time to remember. Time to treasure the memories. Time to rejoice that the time he spent in this world with us was well-lived and truly remarkable.
C. Patrick O'Keefe, July 1933 - January 2011
Dad was born in Jennings, Missouri, the fifth child in a family of eleven children. He is survived by his sisters and brothers: Mary, Delores, John, Thomas, Kay, Ronnie, and Rita and their surviving spouses along with numerous nieces and nephews.
In 1953, Dad met my mom and they married in 1955. They were blessed with six children: Mickey (Darrell), Kathy, Mary Beth (Joe), Mike (Paula), David (Jerri), and Scott (Michelle). Dad was especially fond of his seventeen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Mom and Dad fostered another son, Everett, in the 1970s who remains a part of this lively family.
Dad retired from the McDonnell Douglas Space and Defense Corporation in 1993 as Ombudsman at the Titusville, FL facility. His 40 years of service encompassed support to a number of key programs including: F4, Projects Mercury and Gemini, Dragon, SMAW, and Tomahawk.
Dad was active in his church and in the local community supporting a wide variety of volunteer programs including: YMCA Indian Guides, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Marriage Encounter, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Divine Mercy Catholic Church.
Dad was a man of strong faith, character, and high integrity. He enjoyed woodworking, soapstone carving, and puttering with the landscaping in his yard. He will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.