On Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, Cornelius (Con) Edward O’Keeffe finally confirmed the saying he often told his children, “no one is guaranteed the next sunrise”. He was the consummate Irish storyteller and gentleman.
Con was born on Dec. 31, 1934 in a car that had become stuck in a snowbank on the way to the hospital in Bend. He was the sixth child of Cornelius Michael O’Keeffe (County Cork, Ireland) and Mrytle (McKune) O’Keeffe. His mother passed away when young Con was only 2. The close-knit community of Silver Lake, helped raise the O’Keeffe children as their father was often away tending sheep.
When it came time to go to school, Con was sent to board with various families in Lakeview—the closest school district. He graduated from Lakeview High in 1953. It was there he met the love of his life, Sally Rose Dameron, at a Grange Hall dance. They were a wonderful example to many of what a devoted and loving couple could be. They were sweethearts, best friends, and even after 64 years of marriage, you rarely saw one without the other.
Con joined the Navy right out of high school. He spent 4 years sailing around the Pacific Ocean learning about HVAC systems, military life, and other cultures. He returned to southern Oregon and he and Sally began their life together. They farmed for two years before heading to Oregon State University. Con graduated with a BS in Agriculture and a BS in Business in 1963.
They moved their young family to Twin Falls, Idaho where Con continued his work in agriculture. Through the years, he was occasionally behind a desk, but was always happiest out walking the fields or working with animals. After all the kids had graduated, he and Sally moved to Boise.
Faith was a central part of Con’s life. He lived his life, “preaching the Gospel at all times—and when necessary, used words”. His daughter recalls being woken up at 6 a.m. for the “opportunity” to go to morning Mass with her dad. It would not be unusual for there to be only a few people in the church and for her father to quietly take the position of altar boy to serve. Quietly serving sums up Con’s life.
There were several, struggling teens who lived with Con and Sally through the years. There were weekends spent supporting young married couples through Marriage Encounters. There was mentoring and modeling through years of leadership with youth in 4-H and Boy Scout programs. There were hundreds of examples of quiet support, financial help, and prayer for those he encountered along his journey. He was a grand fellow who was very much loved.
Those who are still here to celebrate and miss him, include: Sally O’Keeffe (wife); Kathleen (Dan) Boespflug; Maureen (Vern Wing) O’Keeffe-Wing; Carleen (Doug) Egbert; Shawn (Tressa) O’Keeffe; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. If you would like to make a donation to honor Con, please consider the Idaho Food Bank.
Due to COVID, there will be a small family gathering at St. Mark’s Catholic Church on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. Please consider joining via the St. Mark’s Facebook page, or livestream from the St. Mark’s website. https://www.stmarksboise.org/