Family was very important to the late John
John O'Keeffe passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family in the early hours of the morning on September 16 after a three-year battle with cancer.
John was born in 1947 to parents Patrick and Kathleen O'Keeffe in Colestown, Barntown, where he lived all his life except for a brief time when he was younger when he lived in London.
However, he was always drawn back to Forth Mountain and attended national school in Barntown before continuing his studies at what was the tech in Wexford town.
John went on to marry Winnie McDonald from Ballymurn in May 1977 and the couple set-up home in Colestown where they went on to have two daughters Jennifer and Cathriona.
John had a great mind for solving problems and loved a good riddle.
He loved nothing more than telling a story or two hence his nickname Spinner as he was known to many. John had hands that could fix anything and was always there to help out the grandkids and many others.
John had two great loves, firstly his animals.
Stray animals always found their way to his door and were never turned away but always accepted in and treated with kindness. His beloved dog Lucy and his cat Mouse spent his final days in the bed beside him wondering what was wrong with their master, both staying with him to the very end.
John also loved a quiet pint, he could be found in Whitford house hotel every Sunday having dinner and a pint of Guinness with his grandson Thomas.
Family was very important to John and the arrival of his five very special grandchildren brought John so much happiness.
He was adored by his grandchildren Thomas, Mikey, John, Jimmy and Emily and it was rare John was found without one or more of them in tow. They loved going for a drive in his little green van, especially if a stop at a shop was involved as they would always be spoilt.
When news of Johns passing broke his family was astonished by the kindness of family, neighbours and friends.
The massive crowd of people who called to his home to say their goodbyes shown how much respected and loved John was.
On a sunny Friday morning John was taken to St. Alphonsus Church, Barntown led from his home by his little green van for a beautiful, simple ceremony for a man who lived a modest life and never wanted a fuss.
His funeral mass was celebrated by Fr John Carroll with his grandchildren playing a big part in the ceremony by doing the reading, prayers of the faithful and bringing the gifts to the altar.
Louise Jones supplied the lovely music with a song from the Dubliners, one of John's favourites included.
John was laid to rest beside his parents in the adjoining graveyard, after prayers his family and grandchildren released 12 white balloons with their own personal message for John.
The massive crowd that showed up bought great comfort to his family.
John is survived by his loving wife Winnie, his two daughters Jennifer and Cathriona, son in law Alex, adored grandchildren Thomas, Mikey, John, Jimmy and Emily, his sisters Marie Boon in London and Catherine Chard in Canada, who both made it home to say goodbye to their only brother and also brothers in law, nieces and nephews.
John has left a massive void for his family but they have the knowledge that he is now at peace and no longer in pain. John fought to the very end never once complaining and his determination to carry on should be a lesson to us all.
Rest in peace John.