Daniel "Jazzman Dan" O'Keefe

Obituary
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"JAZZMAN DAN" (DANIEL) O'KEEFE
December 3, 1931 ~ November 21, 2017

Dan passed away, surrounded by love, at the age of 85 under hospice care at Ray Hickey House from complications of stage 4 lung and brain cancer. He was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the youngest of six children, to John and Pauline (Golden) O'Keefe. His father worked for the government and his mother had studied at The Notre Dame Conservatory of Music and played the harp and ragtime piano. They lived in Washington, D.C., New York, Alliance, Nebraska, and Los Angeles, California.
Dan was in the Coast Guard during the Korean War (1950-53) where their ship patrolled the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii to The Aleutians to gather weather information.
He then settled in Los Angeles, California, and sold trucks for International Harvester before joining Cummins as an apprentice mechanic.
He met Gloria Countryman there, and they were married in 1957. When they had two children, he helped with taking care of them and didn't leave it all to Gloria.
He became a journeyman diesel mechanic for Cummins and worked in that field for over 25 years. His job took our family to live in Northern California, The Pacific Northwest, and Big Sky Country before moving to Vancouver, Washington, in 1980.
Dan was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, was an altar boy, a Knight of Columbus, and listened to Archbishop Fulton Sheen. He loved car racing and raced a little in California. He was musically inclined like his mother, and could play the piano, the saxophone and many other instruments as well as sing and draw. He could build or fix almost anything, and did beautiful woodwork. He was in the Green River Community College Band in Seattle, and they played at basketball games and nursing homes. Dan loved traditional jazz and started this program at Mt. Hood Community College as a DJ; he convinced them that there was an audience for this music and brought his own records to play for the three-hour program that he hosted on Saturday mornings (now on Sunday mornings) on KMHD radio.
He was a special dad, always ready to help someone, and had a ready wit and sense of humor with his twinkling blue eyes. He was the primary caretaker for his wife, Gloria, after her stroke in 1998, with help from his son and daughter. They were married for 53 years. He had many health problems in his later life, but never gave up.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Gloria, in 2011; his brothers Bill, Joe and Jack; and sisters Mary Ann Sennett and Alice Logan; and his parents. He is survived by his son, Patrick O'Keefe and daughter, Suzanne O'Keefe, and by many nieces and nephews.
We thank the many doctors, nurses, therapists, and others who helped us take care of dad these last years, and especially the hospice team at Ray Hickey House.
Dan's funeral mass will be at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Vancouver, WA, at 11:00 a.m., Thurs. Nov. 30, 2017 with a guest book and reception to follow, and burial at Mother Joseph Cemetery.
Please sign his guestbook at www.columbian.com/obits
Religious Service Information
St Joseph's Catholic Church
6600 Highland Dr
Vancouver, WA 98661
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Published in The Columbian on Nov. 26, 2017
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