Obituary of Henry Herbert O'Keefe
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Henry Herbert O’Keefe on February 8, 2023. He will be missed by his wife of almost 60 years, Ghislaine “Coco” (née Grenier), his son Jeff (Nicola) and his daughter Michele. Forever in the hearts of his granddaughter Emily, sister Patricia and granddog Gwinney. Henry is predeceased by his father William, mother Dorothy, sisters Kathleen and Francis, and brother Terry.
Henry was known for many things – generosity, kindness, storytelling, to name a few. In his retirement, Henry truly began to realize his dreams. He volunteered in many roles, including with the Welland Age Friendly Committee, Senior Citizens Advisory Committee and the Rose City Seniors Foundation. He was instrumental in making the Kids Day in the Park event part of Welland’s 125th Anniversary Celebration. He volunteered in Welland during the Pan Am Games and so much more.
As he had a great love of books and writing, he wrote a fantastic fictional novel, Unexpected Means, years ago. It was a spy story based on a fictional account of his mom, Dorothy. Henry had a wonderful time writing the story, pouring over the internet to try and fill in details of the time. And when it was published he had such pride in his accomplishment.
In 1993, Henry’s son Jeff moved to Igloolik, a small village on Baffin Island. Upon hearing of the newly built arena in Fort Smith and how so few kids could afford hockey equipment, he decided to start a campaign to collect hockey gear and send it north. In the end, Henry spearheaded a drive that sent over 2 000 pounds of hockey and figure skating gear to Igloolik and contributed to over 100 kids being able to take advantage of the new arena.
As a young father, Henry became actively involved in youth hockey in Welland. He managed and coached many young men who continued to greet him as Mr. O’Keefe whenever they saw him about town. There were many early morning practices and weekend hockey tournaments in those days. Between teams that Henry’s coached, Jeff’s hockey, and Michele’s basketball, sports were clearly a part of Henry’s life.
He received great recognition for his volunteer and advocate activities with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012.
Henry loved his gardens and his yard. He loved to get them looking beautiful every spring and puttering around the yard was his greatest pastime. In the fall and winter, he read magazines and articles about gardening and anxiously planned for the next spring and summer.
Henry’s 84th birthday was February 7, 2023 and what was his favourite birthday meal? Fried hot dogs! They were delicious!
Henry suffered for more than 40 years with heart pain related to heart disease. The family is incredibly grateful to the doctors and nurses of Niagara Health and the Hamilton Health Sciences Cardiac and Vascular Care program. He has been under their care for many decades and no doubt his life was extended with their amazing support. Pharmacist Frank Sicoli is also to be thanked for his guidance over the years. With the astounding advancements of modern medicine, Henry was able to live a very full life. Thanks also to the amazing neighbours around Thomson Road for their kindness and support during this difficult time.
He was loved and will be missed by all of the O’Keefe and Grenier families.
“Oh Danny boy, tis you, tis you must go and I must bide.”
He was an amazing husband, father and grandfather and will be terribly missed.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to WELLAND FUNERAL HOME, CREMATION AND RECEPTION CENTRE. Keeping with Henry’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A Celebration of Life will take place at a later date. As an expression of sympathy, donations to Rose City Kids would be greatly appreciated by the family.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Henry O'Keefe, please visit our Tree Store
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