Ret. US Navy Richard J. “Rich” O’Keefe

November 25, 2021

Ret. US Navy Richard J. “Rich” O’Keefe
U.S. Veteran

Retired US Navy

Vietnam War

Richard J. “Rich” O’Keefe  –  of Woburn and York,ME, November 25th, at seventy three years of age. Beloved husband of Betsy (Pike) O’Keefe.  Devoted Dad of R. Joel O’Keefe, his wife Rachel of Reading and Melissa O’Keefe of York,ME.  Cherished grandfather of Benjamin Walden of ME, Gavin and Delia O’Keefe of Reading.  Dear brother of Joanne Nelson, her husband David, of Woburn, Elizabeth Mitchell of MN, John O’Keefe, his wife Marijayne of Walpole, Rachael Fontaine of Arlington, Stephen O’Keefe of Woburn, Mary Ellen Selchow, her husband Larry of MN, the late Patricia Martinez, her husband Timothy of NH along with his sister in law Sherry Pike of Woburn and brother in laws David Pike, his wife Sharon and Alan Pike, his wife Marcy, all of NH. Nephew of James Mahoney and his wife Mary. Rich is also survived by many loving cousins, nieces and nephews.  A Funeral will be held in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn on Monday, December 6th, at 11 a.m.  Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to Calling hours, Sunday, December 5th, 2-5 p.m.   Please, in lieu of flowers,  make remembrances to honor Rich, at the Juvenile Diabetes Research at JDRF.org.

Richard J. “Rich” O’Keefe passed away at his home at age seventy-three on Thanksgiving Day, November 25th, surrounded by his beloved family. 

Born in Winchester, Rich was the oldest of eight children. He was raised and educated in Arlington; attending St. Agnes Elementary School.  He graduated from Arlington Catholic High School Class of 1966 where he was active in chorus and basketball.   In 1967, he enlisted in the United States Navy.  After boot camp at Great Lakes, hospital corps school in San Diego and a brief tour of duty at Newport Naval Hospital, Rich served in Vietnam as medical support for the Marines. 

 After returning from the war in 1970, Rich attended a party at a home in Belmont, MA where he met Betsy.  They were married a year later, June 18, 1971, in a candlelight service at Belmont United Methodist Church on June 18, 1971 presided by Rev. Case and Father Joseph Mahoney, Rich’s uncle. They celebrated their 50th anniversary in June this year quietly with family in Boothbay Harbor.

Over the next 16 years, Betsy and Rich were stationed at several naval bases, including Okinawa, Japan where their son Joel was born in 1974 and San Diego, CA where their daughter Melissa was born in 1978.  He also was assigned to three ships, the Shenandoah, the Guadalcanal, and the Fairfax County, all out of Norfolk, Virginia.  After 20 years, Rich retired in 1987.

Upon his military retirement Rich, Betsy, Joel and Melissa made Woburn their home for over 30 years. Rich transitioned to a career in safety training and worked for multiple companies, WR Grace, Sanofi and Lahey Clinic for more than 35 years. A devoted father, Rich always made time to attend the extracurricular activities for Joel and Melissa. He and Betsy also enjoyed extended business trips where they visited the local sites which continued to feed their love of travel.

 When Rich’s grandchildren entered the world, it was important for him to be a part of their activities as much as possible. He cheered Ben on at soccer games and karate events. Then he became the videographer for Delia’s and Gavin’s many games and expositions for cheerleading and hockey.

Rich always had a love of music. From his early life through high school, he participated in chorus and in a band.  Continuing into his adult life, you could find him singing along to his favorite tunes and was always a welcome addition to many karaoke scenes.  As a part of many choirs, he was happy to share his talent whenever he could. His love of music lives on in Melissa, as they enjoyed singing together in church choirs.

Rich’s favorite hobby was golf and loved to get up early for 9 or 18 holes.  He enjoyed playing with his brothers and brothers in law and nephew. 

Over the years, Rich and his family would vacation in York, ME, so it came as no surprise when he and Betsy found a small studio apartment in Ogunquit to enjoy all seasons.  They were so happy when they found a condo on the beach where they entertained friends and family for more than 14 years.  When it was time to consider retirement, Rich and Betsy found their forever home in York and they loved to entertain.

An articulate and gentle man, Rich could also be somewhat pensive, where decisions were involved. He did not make any decision randomly, or “off the cuff”. His sense of humor and caring demeanor will be missed by all who know and love him. Rest in peace Rich.

Beloved husband of Betsy (Pike) O’Keefe.  Devoted Dad of R. Joel O’Keefe, his wife Rachel of Reading and Melissa O’Keefe of York,ME.  Cherished grandfather of Benjamin Walden of ME, Gavin and Delia O’Keefe of Reading.  Dear brother of Joanne Nelson, her husband David, of Woburn, Elizabeth Mitchell of MN, John O’Keefe, his wife Marijayne of Walpole, Rachael Fontaine of Arlington, Stephen O’Keefe of Woburn, Mary Ellen Selchow, her husband Larry of MN, the late Patricia Martinez, her husband Timothy of NH along with his sister in law Sherry Pike of Woburn and brother in laws David Pike, his wife Sharon and Alan Pike, his wife Marcy, all of NH. Nephew of James Mahoney and his wife Mary. Rich is also survived by many loving cousins, nieces and nephews.  A Funeral will be held in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn on Monday, December 6th, at 11 a.m.  Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to Calling hours, Sunday, December 5th, 2-5 p.m.   Please, in lieu of flowers,  make remembrances to honor Rich, at the Juvenile Diabetes Research at JDRF.org.

 

A Funeral will be held in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn on Monday, December 6th, at 11 a.m.  Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to Calling hours, Sunday, December 5th, 2-5 p.m.   Please, in lieu of flowers,  make remembrances to honor Rich, at the Juvenile Diabetes Research at JDRF.org.

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  1. So very sorry to hear of Dickie’s passing. I know Tom had many fond memories of family events shared with you all. My deepest sympathy and love to you all! Betty Sackos

  2. Betsy,
    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved husband. The tribute to him is beautiful. It tells of a life well lived, rooted and surrounded by boundless love. Please accept my sincere condolences.
    Sending warm thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
    Gretchen Greene

  3. Mary Ellen McAvoy

    Betsy & family I am so sorry to hear of Rich’s passing. Prayers and thoughts are with you at this time of sadness.

  4. Mary Mahoney Hastings

    Betsy, Joel, Melissa and Grandchildren
    I am so sorry to learn of cousin Richard’s passing, sending you and the O’Keefe Family Comfort, Strength, Peace and Love during this very difficult time.

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