Robert "Red"'s Story
Robert R. O’Keefe, 82, died Thursday, July 6, 2017 at Merrimack Valley Hospice’s High Pointe House in Haverhill, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Somerville, he was the son of the late John and Elizabeth O’Keefe and the devoted husband of the late Jacqueline O‘Keefe, his wife of 60 years, who passed away in 2016.
Robert graduated from Somerville High School with the Class of 1952. He immediately joined the National Guard and honorably completed his six years of service with the rank of sergeant. Bob worked for years in the automotive industry, at several dealerships and shops including Pierce Ford and Stan’s Garage in Billerica. He held both an appraiser’s license and later obtained teacher certification for auto body and automotive repair in the Massachusetts Vocational School system. He joined New England Telephone Company in 1970 becoming a Motor Vehicle foreman for garages throughout the northeast, retiring in 1994. His last ‘career’ was with McKenna & O’Keefe Auto Repair, his son’s business, where he delighted in writing estimates, ordering parts and talking to vendors and customers.
Much of Robert’s life was spent in Chelmsford, where he was a member of St. Mary’s parish, but he and Jackie relocated to Westford 14 years ago. He enjoyed trips with his wife and family but his heart belonged in New Hampshire, specifically Gilmanton Iron Works, his happy place. It was there that Bob was able to “relax” and keep up with the sports, concerts, educations and careers of his large family.
Robert is survived and lovingly remembered by his six children, Robert O’Keefe Jr. and his wife, Susan of Westford, Kathleen O’Keefe Gerow and her husband, Kevin of Methuen, John O’Keefe of Lowell, Maureen O’Keefe of Pepperell, Michael O’Keefe and his wife Jane of Byfield, and Colleen O’Keefe of Pepperell. He was the proud grandfather to 11, Andrew and Brian Gerow, Lauren and her husband, Seth Ross, Riley and his wife Tiffany O’Keefe, Travis Normandin, Micaela, Sadie, RJ, Jack, Kelsey and Jillian O’Keefe. He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Eileen and Sandra Fox, both of Billerica, and Nancy Fox of Florida, as well as many nieces, nephews, friends and caring neighbors. In addition to his parents and wife, Robert was predeceased by his twin brother, Richard O’Keefe, his brother John O’Keefe, and sisters, Theresa O’Keefe, Katherine Morin and Mary Howard.
Calling hours will be held Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Sweeney Memorial Funeral Home, 66 Concord Road, Billerica, MA 01821. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday, July 10, at 10:30 a.m., St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, 466 Boston Road, Billerica, followed immediately by burial at Fox Hill Cemetery, 130 Andover Road, Billerica. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember Robert may consider making a donation in his memory to: The Skin Cancer Foundation, 149 Madison Ave., Suite 901, New York, NY 10016, website skincancer.org OR, Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, 401 Park Drive, Suite 602, Boston, 02115, website childrenshospital.org. Visit www.sweeneymemorialfh.com for additional information.
Published on  July 7, 2017