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Orville O'KeefeMay 12, 1927 ~ November 6, 2017 (age 90)
Orville “Mick” O’Keefe
Orville passed away in his sleep, peacefully, November 6, 2017, after living each day as fully as possible with cancer. He will be forever cherished and loved by his family and friends.
Mick was born May 12, 1927, to Jack and Albertine O’Keefe in the back seat of a Model T between Collins and Choteau, MT. Mick grew up on the family farm in Collins with his parents and siblings-Johnny Evelyn, and Leona. He graduated from Teton County High School in Choteau and spent time working for the U.S. Forest Service before proudly serving his country in both the U.S. Navy and Army from 1947 – 1952.
While attending commercial college in Great Falls, he met the love of his life, Mary Helen Bradford. They married in Fort Benton and went on to raise their three children – Nancy, Molly, and Brien, in Great Falls.
Mick began his teaching career in a small country school and then worked for Great Falls Public School District for 32 years: McKinley and Lincoln Elementary, Paris Gibson Junior High, CMR, and retired as a Mighty Bison from Great Falls High.
A highlight of Mick’s was taking the family to England while participating in a teacher exchange program in 1967 – 68.
Mick was active in numerous community and civic organizations. He proudly stated that he had never missed voting in an election. Another highlight of his life was attending the 1960 National Democratic Convention in California with Mary Helen and his parents, Judge Truman and Ruth Bradford.
Mick was a member of First United Methodist Church for 60 years. He served in whatever capacity was needed and enjoyed researching and gathering information about John Wesley and donating his time to the renovation of the parsonage building.
Mick loved his family; always had the love of a dog in his home. He was the family historian, recruiting facts and figures, and always had a story to tell. Mick played an active role in the lives of his grandchildren who brought such joy to his life. “Dad was a gentleman in the finest sense. We will cherish his memory and kindness, compassion and humor.”
Mick was preceded in death by wife, Mary Helen O’Keefe; brother, John O’Keefe, sister, Evelyn Koenig; niece, Carol Eling Mielke, nephew, Gordon Elings. Survivors include sister Leona Elings; brother-in-law, Jack (Sandy) Bradford; his children, Nancy (Cami) O’Keefe, Molly (Tom) O’Keefe Christianson, and Brien (Kim) O’Keefe. He also leaves behind his grandchildren Daniel (Abby), Charley, Katy, Rachelle, Tyler, Mallory, and Kasey, as well as great grandchildren, Lexi, Holden, and Hailey.
Cremation has taken place with Croxford Funeral Home. A Memorial Service to celebrate Mick’s life will be held Saturday, November 11, 2017, at 1:00pm at First United Methodist Church. Private entombment at Hillcrest, with final resting place beside his beloved Mary Helen.