Richard Michael Keefe Obituary

Richard Michael Keefe

It is said the Irish have a gift for storytelling, and no one exemplified this more than Richard Michael (“Dick”) Keefe, who left this world on March 20, 2020 at the age of 86 for the green hills of heaven, where we know he is holding court and telling stories now. He passed away peacefully at his home in Bay Head, New Jersey after a long illness, surrounded by his loving family. The son of James M. and Annabelle Keefe (née Fleming), Richard was born in 1933 and raised in New Brunswick, NJ, with five siblings (Jane, James, Gerry, Ann Marie, and Robert). He graduated from St. Peter’s High School in New Brunswick and St. Peter’s University, the Jesuit University of New Jersey, and he studied law at New York Law and Fordham Law. In 1957, he married the beautiful Marian Nulty, who he met at St. Peter’s High School. They lovingly raised their family of six children—five girls (Kathleen, Patricia, Margaret, Mary Elizabeth, and Kelly Ann) and one boy (Michael)—in New Brunswick, NJ. Richard served as the Executive Directory of New Brunswick’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority for 27 years. During his tenure as the Executive Director, Richard was instrumental in the growth and revitalization of the City of New Brunswick. He retired from the Housing and Redevelopment Authority in 1990 and shortly thereafter moved to Bay Head, NJ. Following his retirement from the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Richard served for 25 years at Executive Director of New Jersey’s Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities, a trade association, and as CEO of R. Keefe & Associates, a housing, finance, development, and management consulting firm. Richard was a U.S. Navy veteran and a Life Member of the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans Association. He was awarded the European Occupation Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. He was a Life Member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and New Brunswick Elks Lodge #324 and an honorary life member of the Knights of Columbus and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities. In addition, he was a founding member of the Central New Jersey Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and a member of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of the Jersey Shore. Richard was a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in Bay Head, NJ. Richard was predeceased by his beloved oldest daughter, Kathleen Ann, his brother Gerald Keefe, and his sisters Jane Sierotko and Ann Marie Thomas. Richard was a loving husband and father of six and an adoring grandfather of 13. He is survived by his wife, Marian Keefe (née Nulty) and his five loving children: Patricia Keefe Durso and husband Tom of Mahwah, NJ; Margaret Loundy and husband Michael of Brick, NJ and Hollywood, FL; Mary Elizabeth Keefe of Point Pleasant Beach, NJ; Michael Keefe and wife Alice of Sea Girt, NJ; and daughter Kelly Keefe Marcoux and husband Brian of Bay Head, NJ. In addition, Richard is survived by his 13 precious grandchildren, ranging in age from 28 to 8: Casey Loundy Eidelstein and husband Danny, Maggie Loundy, Madeline Durso, Scott Smith, Zhen Smith, Isabelle Durso, Luke Marcoux, Owen Marcoux, Sabina Smith, Quinn Marcoux, Kathleen Keefe, Zoe Keefe, and Michael Keefe. Richard will be forever remembered by his wife, children, and grandchildren, as well as by his surviving brothers, James Keefe (Florida) and Robert Keefe (NJ), his beloved in-laws, and many loving nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and countless friends. Even at age 86, Richard had an astounding memory—he remembered every detail and experience from his childhood, his navy days, his work experiences, his travels, and his life with his family. When he was not holding court in the kitchen in Bay Head, telling stories of his life or of Irish history, he was sitting at his desk overlooking the bay, tirelessly researching Irish genealogy, writing histories of Ireland, and recording stories of his children and grandchildren. He was writing and editing until the end, most recently working on what he titled Memories of My Lifetime in 15 Parts, including: Born Irish-America; The Great Depression; World War II; Life and Happenings in the Hood; Redshirted Grammar School Days & High School Fun Days; The Good Little Bad Sailor; College and Law School Days; On the Job; Love, Marriage and Fatherhood; The Precious and Magnificent Six; Golden Years & Our Wonderful Grandchildren; Good Time Memories (2019-20). We will miss our dad’s stories, but he has written everything down and made sure we won’t forget them. He is the author of many self-published books, including: The Keefe and Fleming Family Lineage (2014); Royals, Rebels and Rogues: The Keefes and O’Keeffes of Ireland (2015); Ancestral History of the Keefes (2016); O’Keeffe Clan of Ireland (2016); Genealogical Lineage of Michael Fleming (1842-1894) & His Connection with the Lords of Slane, County Meath, Ireland (2016); Nulty & Beggan Irish Roots (2017); The Fighting Irish: A History of Ireland as Seen through the Eyes of the Irish (2018); All about New Brunswick’s O’Keeffe (Keefe), Fleming, Hughes, and Carolan Clans & Their Irish Connections (2018); A Comparison of DNA of Celtic-Speaking Gales (2018); and In Search of a Better Life: The Story of an Irish Community in America (2019). Due to the ban against public gatherings, the immediate family will be holding a private service for now, but we will be scheduling a funeral mass and a celebration of Richard’s life at a future date. We will notify family and friends at that time with another announcement. Until that time, please keep Richard in your prayers. We know that the above paragraph about the services is supposed to be the end here, but it is only fitting that we give the final words to our dad, so we’d like to share an excerpt from an open letter to his family, which he placed at the end of his memoirs: “I’m nearing the end of my trip down memory lane. I am tired and it’s time to go. Besides, I’ve probably told you more about my lifetime memories than you wanted or expected to hear. Before I close, I want to leave you with a reminder that the true treasures of life are not the material things that you accumulate, but who you have in your life. I thank God for all the blessings He has given me, especially the most meaningful and important of all those blessings, the love and caring of my wonderful family…. May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. God Bless.”
May 15, 1933 - March 20, 202005/15/193303/20/2020
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Obituary

It is said the Irish have a gift for storytelling, and no one exemplified this more than Richard Michael (“Dick”) Keefe, who left this world on March 20, 2020 at the age of 86 for the green hills of heaven, where we know he is holding court and telling stories now. He passed away peacefully at his home in Bay Head, New Jersey after a long illness, surrounded by his loving family.The son of James M. and Annabelle Keefe (née Fleming), Richard was born in 1933 and raised in New Brunswick, NJ, ...

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