Michael J. O’Keefe May 24, 1959 - August 27, 2020

Michael “Mike” John O’Keefe, 61, of St. Paul, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 27 2020. His final conscious moments on this earth were spent running along the Mississippi River with his beloved wife Valerie. Always a sensitive, practical guy, he couldn’t have designed a better end for himself. For this, his family will forever be grateful. He is survived by Valerie, his great love of 37 years, his children Kenzie (Abbie), Calvin (Devan), Shannon, and Quinn, his mother Mary Ellen, and his eight siblings Eileen (Mark), Anne, Pat (Steve), Laura (Bob), Kathy, Beth (Joe), Kevin (Becky), John (Melissa), and his many, many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father Eugene, his father-in-law George, his brother Bill, and his nephew Kyle. Mike grew up in Naperville, IL, where he honed his ability to stand out in a crowd and love expansively. He graduated from Illinois State University, where he got in lots of trouble with his friends, rode a motorcycle, and did not study business (despite spending his later years insisting that all of his children do so). He was a cameraman for the Illinois Farm Bureau and eventually for Channel 9 news in the Twin Cities. He worked for a private eye in Brooklyn; he ranched horses in Prior Lake, and then he settled into a decades-long corporate career, culminating in partnering in two IT companies. He was a leader everywhere he went, humbly mentoring many along the way. Life was an endless series of projects for Mike; he always needed to know how things worked. The only thing he had more of than cars that needed fixing, was friends. He was always invested in a great idea. He saved the day for many people on many occasions. He was a guy who never planned a speech but always slayed when handed a mic, especially when he was on stage with his band, Six Still Standing. He would drop everything to show up the moment he was needed. It’s fitting that he left this life as an organ donor. He was most himself with a glass of Oban and an unlit cigar, trading stories with a great friend or two. He found his greatest peace and joy with Val and the kids at the family cabin in Stockholm, WI, and his family takes immense comfort in knowing that he’ll find his way back to them there-in the whirring of his many small engines, in the soaring of the eagles, and in the unruly dogs that always find a way to slip into the house after scaring the goldfish in the old satellite dish. Gratitude was his prayer. All he ever wanted was more time with the people he loved. Follow the family on social media for more information on an upcoming virtual celebration of life event. After the pandemic, a large festival in Mike’s honor will be held. The family asks that any desire to honor him take the form of support for change in November. As his last text to his family read: “Getting excited that integrity will have a place again in our country’s leadership.”

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  1. REPLY
    Dave Herreid says

    I’m so sorry for you loss. In years past as a neighbor I’d always look to Mike as the guy with the fun, interesting things happening around him. A vintage mustang in the garage, Micheal Jordan playoff games projected on the garage, or talking another neighbor, Bob Seng, a 100-year-old Saint Paul institution, into reminiscing about his life while Mike recorded Bob’s fascinating life. When our paths crossed on the sidewalk he always had an interesting take on a subject, one that would make me think and become more aware. All this while being the funniest guy I’ve ever known. The last few times we talked the conversation alway included families; he was so proud of his.

    I had the good luck to work with him on some house designs. He was the only client I ever had who wanted an authentic Rumford masonry fireplace; it wasn’t practical, but it was important to him. Val, I can well imagine him in the winter with a little fire, some Oban whiskey, telling a joke while unwinding in front of that fireplace.

  2. REPLY
    Tom/Cheryl Deslauriers says

    Such a huge loss of a wonderful human being. Prayers to your family at this very difficult time.

    Tom & Cheryl Deslauriers

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