×

Hill Funeral Home

11723 South Saginaw Street, Grand Blanc, MI

OBITUARY

Vincent Charles O'Keeffe

10 October , 19284 May , 2019

Dr. Vincent C. O’Keeffe of Grand Blanc, peacefully passed away at his home on May 4, 2019. A celebration of life service will be held 11 am Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club, 9057 South Saginaw Street, Grand Blanc, Michigan. The family will receive friends from 10 am Tuesday until time of services.

Vince was born on October 10, 1928 to David and Frances (Dolan) O’Keeffe in Manchester, New Hampshire. Dr. O’Keeffe began his career as a professional musician at age 15 and continued to perform for over 60 years, most notably with The New Reformation Jazz Band, a nationally recognized classical jazz band based in Michigan. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Boston University’s College of Music and his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Vince moved to Michigan in 1975 to become part of the music faculty of the University of Michigan at the Flint campus.

In addition to his life-long involvement with music, Vince had several interests. He was an accomplished amateur radio operator. As W1IDL, he made many friends and liked traveling to various countries to meet his HAM radio friends. Vince also enjoyed sailing and long-distance bicycling.

Vince is survived by his wife, Peggy; children Patricia (Mickey) Gingras of Florida and Jim (Christine) O’Keeffe of California, 6 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Founding Faculty Music Scholarship at the University of Michigan-Flint, the Golden Retriever Foundation, or the charity of your choice.

Services

  • Memorial Visitation Tuesday, 21 May , 2019
  • Celebration of Life Tuesday, 21 May , 2019

Memories

Vincent Charles O'Keeffe

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Ted Himelhoch

20 May 2019

I have wondered where Dr O'Keeffe was the last several years and wish I'd known he was in the same city as my office. He was my mentor, counselor, jazz band director, coach and friend all wrapped in one. I saw him in Los Angeles several years ago and got to spend time with him after the New Reformation performance. He told me he got a kick out of my "senior project" a history of jazz rock fusion series of tapes I did and that he still used them and a poster board I had done in his classes. I was amazed. He knew how to make you feel good and get the best out of you. He was the greatest and I remember my last performance at U of M Flint right before my last solo he leaned over and said,"It's your last solo. I'm going to let you go as long as you want. " About five minutes into it he walked back over again leaned in and said," we've gotta go on without you." I have missed Dr O'Keeffe over the years and will miss him even more now. Rest in peace Dr.

William Coale

11 May 2019

As a mentor, dear friend, ham radio buddy, intellectual, fellow musician, and university professor, Vince's passing leaves a big empty place in my world. I'm sure legions of others feel the same, in that Vince was such a presence in so many different ways. I'll greatly miss trying to meet his challenges (such as "please give my best to (Boston Pops clarinetist) Billy Wrzesien" when he knew I was going to visit Boston one July 4th. I tracked Billy down on the symphony bus in front of Symphony Hall, and passed along Vince's good wishes to complete my quest, by the way!) I'll miss our pun challenges, and remember every "Thrusday" (a typo, mine or Vince's...I don't recall whose) as Vince opined it was indeed the correct/appropriate spelling of the weekday, as we were mostly "thru" the week at that point. :-) I likely wouldn't have become a school administrator nor earned a doctorate if it were not for Vince and Peggy, and I will treasure his memory and revel in his jokes forever. My heart breaks as I type this, but...RIP, dear friend.

Chuck Dafoe

10 May 2019

I met Vince through the Genesee County Radio Club, and thoroughly enjoyed our time together, weather it be at a club meeting or our annual ARRL Field Day event. He was a walking plethora of information, and he just loved sharing life's experiences with his friends. May the Lord be with you during this difficult time. 73's my friend, K8DZH

Scott and Debra Filer

7 May 2019

Peggy,

We were so saddened by the news of your loss. We always loved our backyard conversations with Vince, they were always lighthearted and interesting and Starlit would always wait at the edge of our property for Vince’s ok to get a treat!
You and your family will certainly be in our thoughts and prayers.

Scott and Deb Filer

mary margaret St.John

7 May 2019

Vince was a musician's musician. He was a kind and gentle soul who will be greatly missed. I can still hear those wonderful clarinet licks he so flawlessly executed with the New Reformation Jazz Band.

Mary Margaret St.John

Rick Bryant

7 May 2019

Peggy, we all knew the time would come to say goodbye to Vince and sadly that time has come. But I'm guessing none of us was prepared for it. Like you, I hoped Vince would get up there close to his Mother in age.
There's just no way to express how much I enjoyed my time with him. Whether we were on stage, joking off-stage, on a plane flying to the west coast or driving 600 miles in the heat with no AC in my car, he was fun to be with. His playing was precise and his humor was hilarious. He truly enriched my life in a number of ways and I will always have the fondest memories of him. My heart goes out to you, who he thought the world of. You guys were a great couple.

I greatly regret that I will be unable to play at his service. I'll be landing in Ireland that day for my daughter's wedding. If not for that, it would have been an honor to play there with the guys he loved and had so much fun with. May God comfort you as you go through this time. I'm thankful that both of you were in my life.

Al Van Brocklin

7 May 2019

Enjoyed his friendship with the Genesee County Radio Club especially at our annual field days when he'd come to my tent and listen to CW and chat with me about radio and his career in music. He was a sweet soul that was easy to be in the presence of. Surely heaven has gained a winner. Rest in the peace of God's presence now, Vince. :) de KD8DEU, Al from Columbiaville, MI

Rob Beuter

7 May 2019

Vince you will miss! I will miss talking to you on the air waves! 73's from Kd8kub

jeff Pender

7 May 2019

Vince was a member of the Genesee County Radio Club and a great Mentor to all in the Amateur Radio Community. He was a great Friend and will be missed.

Deborah Offenhauser

6 May 2019

Vince was a wonderful professor, and so inspiring. I was able to meet up with him just a few years ago, and it was like "old times", talking about and listening to music together. He had so much talent AND a wonderful verve for life that was so uplifting!

FROM THE FAMILY