Charles Francis O’Keefe Sr., never met a stranger

January 14, 2022

Charles Francis O’Keefe Sr. passed peacefully from this life Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. Known as “Charlie” to his friends, he never met a stranger. 

Charlie was born Nov. 1, 1934, in Philadelphia to Charles and Margaret O’Keefe. He was the oldest of five children. He attended St. Rose of Lima Elementary School and was a proud alumnus of St. Thomas More High School where he played the clarinet in the marching band. It was at this time that he developed his lifelong love of the game of handball, which he played multiple times a week for most of his adult life. He attended St. Joseph’s University. Later he served honorably in the Pennsylvania National Guard. It was during this service that he discovered the beaches of Delaware, and eventually established a summer home in Broadkill Beach. As a longtime member of the Lewes Yacht Club, he enjoyed being both on and in the water, going for a swim every afternoon he could. He was very active in community service, having served on the board of the West Chester, Pa. YMCA. He was a lifelong Rotarian and achieved the status of a Paul Harris Fellow for his generous commitment of time and money to the organization. He had a real sweet tooth and especially loved dark chocolate Wilbur Buds. Charlie was a lifelong Eagles fan, truly believing that there was always next year. He was a friend of Bill’s for over 62 years. 

He was predeceased by his parents and three of his siblings, Mary O’Keefe, Edmund O’Keefe, and Thomas O’Keefe. He is survived by his beloved wife and high school sweetheart Louise Belfi O’Keefe. They were married for over 67 years. In addition to Louise, he is survived by his sister, Eileen Devecchis; his three children, Kathleen O’Keefe, Charles O’Keefe, and Joseph O’Keefe; and his six grandchildren, Piper O’Keefe, Ian O’Keefe, Maggie Curran, Amy (Neil) Justice, Killian Grider, and Laura O’Keefe; as well as several nieces and nephews. 

A virtual Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 14, live-streamed on YouTube, using this link:

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Covenant House, 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001 or


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