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James O'Keefe

James E. O'Keefe died Monday, May 31, 2010, at Woodland Memorial Hospital. Born on April 15, 1933 in Butte, Mont., he was 77.

After graduation from high school and marriage to Sarah, James served eighteen months in South Korea in the U.S. Army. He returned to his wife and son James in Montana and attended The University of Montana, Western, where his received a master's degree in mathematics and a lifetime teaching credential. He taught sixth grade for four years in Montana and moved to Davis, where he taught Math for 48 years.

He is survived by Sarah, his wife of 57 years; daughter Colleen Perry and grandson Christopher of Davis; daughter Sarah O'Keefe and grandson David of Davis; son John O'Keefe, his wife Victoria, their children Jonathon and Joy, and their grandchildren, Michael, Emily, Jordan and Ryan of Rio Linda and Sacramento; and son Paul O'Keefe and his wife Kirsten of Brentwood, and granddaughters Kamryn and Kailey. He is preceded in death by his oldest son James M. O'Keefe and is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

The family requests that memorial gifts be given to The St. Patrick's Home for children.,

A memorial service begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 12, at St. James Catholic Church, 1275 B St. in Davis, with a reception following.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James O'Keefe, please visit our flower store.


I had the pleasure of having Mr. O'Keefe as my math teacher for 3 years at DHS plus I served as his TA during my Senior year.....hands down he was a wonderful teacher and even better mentor. I loved every moment we spent together as he made every student feel special and was engaged in their progress. As a tennis player, he always called me "Chrissie" which still to this day makes me smile as unfortunately my career never got to that level, but so appreciated his support. He will be missed!

Susy Westfall Aug 1 2010 12:00 AM

I just wanted you to know how Mr OKeefe touched my life. He was one of my favorite teachers at davis high (class of 1980). He always made me feel special. I remembering him smiling with a little chalk on his nose. He was a special man.

sally ruebner mohr Jun 23 2010 12:00 AM

Dear Sally and Family, One thing that I will always remember of Jim were his thoughts when my mom passed away in August 2000. He told me that I will always have memories of her and that a day won't go by when I don't think of her. He said that was true of him with his mom even though she had died several years earlier. To this day, I believe that to be true. God Bless you all and may you always hold your memories close. Love, Diana Hoffmann

Diana Hoffmann Jun 12 2010 12:00 AM

God was watching out for us when Jim and Sally moved across the street and were our neighbors and "family" for many years. We have the sweetest memories of our dear Jim. The Halloween before Riley's second birthday was a treasured memory. Riley's first word was duck, so I (Fran) labored over the making of a beautiful duck costume. When it came time to put it on, Riley would have nothing to do with it. He wanted to go sit with Jim. So on that warm night, Jim and Riley sat on Jim's driveway, legs straight out in front of them, handing out candy. God Bless You sweet Jim. Thank you for touching our lives and our hearts.

Fran, Jody, Riley and Rufus Jun 11 2010 12:00 AM

Mr. O'Keefe was my favorite teacher while attending Davis High School. He gave me support and was always there for me. I moved back to Davis from the Bay area 7 years ago and always enjoyed his wave and smile while driving by.... My prayers and thoughts are with all his family. He truly was my angel....

Lori Paylor Carpenter Jun 11 2010 12:00 AM

Sally and family, We're keeping you all in our prayers. Jim was a marvelous man and I'll miss seeing him in the garden as I bike by. Mom was wondering about whether a Butte style casserole was appropriate to bring by. Mary, Mary Ann and Theresa Kersten

Theresa Kersten Jun 10 2010 12:00 AM

Dear O'Keefe Family, My deepest sorrow and sympathy in your time of grief. Jim was one of a kind and the good Lord broke the mold when he was made. He always used to greet me in Spanish and called me "Senor" whenever we met. I will always remember Jim as a highly spirited friend and colleague at DHS who would totally go out of his way to help any student in need of assistance.God Bless you Jim.

joe moreno Jun 10 2010 12:00 AM

Dear O'Keefe Family, Jim was one of my favorite teachers. He had the warmest smile as he welcomed all students into his classroom. Jim was kind and was confident that he could teach math to all students. When I was worried about a student, Jim would gentle tell me that the student would be fine with him. I learned to trust him and I am very grateful that so many students benefited from his knowledge, kindness, and genuine respect for all.

Courtenay Tessler Jun 10 2010 12:00 AM

Mrs. O'Keefe, Colleen and family, As a family we send our love and and happy thoughts of our time with Mr.O'Keefe. We loved him not only as a great mentor and teacher but also as a wonderful person in our community. Your family is our prayers and thoughts for you during this time.

Teresa Gyorke Jun 8 2010 12:00 AM

Our sympathy to you and your family Mrs. O'Keefe. We knew Mr. O'Keefe through our son. Steven had him for math in high school and like some of his other teachers Steven was scared of him. But, when his buddies were in the math class Mr. O'Keefe remarked to Steven, "You are in my class now more than when you were enrolled in it." Naturally it got a big laugh from everyone. It must have been okay as Steven never got booted out of his class while there with buddies. He was friends with Mr. O'Keefe after that! We also remember sitting in Dr. Weisner's office in Sacramento with you, your husband and son. We compared notes on the unbearable arthritis. We would also like to extend our sympathies for your son. He was the one coach during Steven's football career that treated him fairly. We will always be grateful to him for that!

Paul and Donna Faye Washburn Jun 8 2010 12:00 AM

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