In Memory of James “Jim” O’Keefe

JIm OKeefe

Jim passed away yesterday at 11:30 Am. He was hospitalized and did not recover from the effects of pneumonia and old age. I’ve met a few people in my time, but never any as nice and personable as this gentle soul. He will be missed by all that  knew him. It was his wishes to be cremated and have no funeral. If that changes I will pass it along. VGA expresses condolences to his family and friends. I cannot imagine your sorrow.

RIP Jim, March 23rd, 2016….Harley Ewing

I have inventoried Jim O’Keefe’s golf equipment that I picked up at his house.  I would like you to put the inventory on the VGA webpage so that members could look over the list and decide if they would like any of Jim’s things.  All things would be offered as first – first served. Thanks Fred Baldwin.

A Tribute to Jim by Fred Baldwin: As you all know, Jim O’Keefe passed away on the 23rd of March 2016. He was a well-liked gentleman with many positive qualities and a saint of a man if there is one. However, you may still wonder where is Jim O’Keefe today? Well, this is the beginning of his story.

As Jim approached the Pearly Gates he noticed their grandeur and thought to himself in his usual self-effacing manner “Not too shabby”. He looked for Saint Peter, but no one was at the gates. He thought he would pass through the gates unnoticed, when Saint Peter appeared out of nowhere to Jim’s amazement. Disappointed about getting through without having to confess, he said quietly to himself, “I’ll be a nasty name”.

Saint Peter said “Hello. Jim or should I call you Joker. I am glad to meet you. I wish I had more like you greeting me at the Pearly Gates”.

Jim thanked Saint Peter for his compliment and started to walk through the gates when Saint Peter said, “Wait a minute Jim, you must confess your sins first”. Noticing that Jim hesitated Saint Peter pointed out that everyone who wanted to pass through the gates needed to confess their sins. However, Saint Peter added, “Due to your good character Jim, I only ask that you confess to your worst sin”.

Jim looked at Saint Peter and responded with “I don’t wanna talk about it”.

Saint Peter stepped back and looked disconcerted. “Jim, you must confess at least one sin to enter. There is no other way”.

Jim thought for a minute about what Saint Peter said, rubbed his chin, and then smiled. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a brand-new deck of playing cards. He nimbly opened the pack, took out the cards, and removed the jokers as Saint Peter watched in wonderment. Jim easily split the deck in two and fanned the halves together two or three times. He then shuffled the deck for a moment. Looking directly at Saint Peter.

Saint Peter, taken aback, said, “What are you doing Jim? Why did you take out that deck of cards?”

Jim said, “Perhaps there is another way for me to pass through the gates”.

Saint Peter asked, “What are you talking about? You should know there is only one way to pass through the gates”.

Jim asked Saint Peter, “Have you ever heard of Crazy Bridge?”

“To tell the truth, recently, in anticipation of meeting you here, I have been watching you and the Valley Golfers playing that game. I have been most intrigued and have wondered why you call it Crazy Bridge. What are you proposing?”

Jim smiled to himself as he said, “Let’s play one hand of Crazy Bridge. If you win, I will confess my worst sin, if I win, I get to pass through the gates without confessing”.

“Are you suggesting that we gamble?”

“You might call it that”.

“Gambling is not allowed here!”

“It’s just a game,” Jim replied.

Saint Peter, as always, had a pious and reverent look on is face, but he was smiling inside. He thought, “How can I lose? I have the power of the divine on my side! He is only a frail human! I cannot lose, he thought triumphantly”.

“Okay Jim” he said demurely. “Even though it is highly irregular, I agree to your proposal” as he grew excited within himself.

Jim asked, “Would you like to deal?”

“Oh no! I should not even touch the cards. Go ahead Jim. You deal”.

Once again, Jim nimbly shuffled the cards and dealt one card to Saint Peter and one to himself. He put the deck down and turned up the Queen of spades saying, “Spades are trump”.

Saint Peter picked up his card and despite his best effort, a small trace of a smile appeared on his lips. He boldly announced, “I bid one Jim”.

Jim thought about Saint Peter’s bid for a moment. He then reached for his card and turned up one corner and withdrew his hand. He looked off to the side and up at an angle as though he was deep in thought.

Saint Peter asked anxiously, “What are you going to bid”?

Jim remained silent. He turned up the edge of his card once again, looked a little doubtful, and a little crestfallen.

Saint Peter asked again, however with more confidence “Jim, what are you going to bid?’

Jim had the look of indecisiveness as he blurted out “one”.

Saint Peter couldn’t restrain himself as he picked up his card and slapped the King of Spades down for Jim to see. His look of piety and reverence was gone wiped out by a huge smile. He announced, “I guess this means, you are going to have to confess your worst sin”.

Jim looked defeated which only broadened Saint Peter’ s smile. He slowly reached for his card, and hesitated, looked away again, and then focused on Saint Peter’s face as Jim turned up the ace of spades. He then smiled reverently.

Saint Peter could not believe his eyes. His smiled disappeared and his face drained of color. He stammered, “But, but, I, I, I had the power of the divine on my side. How could you have beaten me?”

Jim quietly observed, “I guess the card gods got you”.

Saint Peter said,” That doesn’t make sense. I should have won. How could you have won?”

Jim nonchalantly replied, “That’s why the game is called Crazy Bridge”.

Jim picked up the cards and placed them back in the pack and put the pack in his pocket.

Saint Peter asked, “Why did you have cards here anyway? What do you expect to do with then inside of the Pearly Gates”?

“Well, I know I have some friends in there that would enjoy playing Crazy Bridge with me once again.”

As Jim passed through the gates he said to Saint Peter, “Thank you, it has been my pleasure. And by the way, you can call me Joker.”

15 Comments Add yours

  1. William Heller says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Jim. He was truly a “nice” guy. He always seemed to have a smile on his face, even after a bad shot. I will miss him and his wonderful personality. Rest in peace.

  2. Dan Campos says:

    RIP Joker, you will be missed!!!!

  3. Rusty says:

    Jimmy was the greatest and a very intimidating crazy bridge player. His passing is a big loss for all of us. I miss him.

    From Rusty

    1. Jim I will miss you , you were an up front guy that I admired, a True Foxhole buddy. God Bless You!!!🙏🏻❤️🍺

  4. Grady McEachern says:

    Very sad! Jim was the first one to make me feel welcome when I joined the Valley Golfers. He also took the time to learn how to correctly pronounce my last name. I’ll remember Jim for his quips such as, “I don’t wanna talk about it!” He was truly a good man.

  5. DENNIS HAIGWOOD says:

    I ALSO WILL MISS JIM. JIM WAS A GOOD FRIEND OF MY WIFE WHEN THEY WORKED TOGETHER IN CALIF WITH THE NIS. WHEN I JOINED THE VGA MY FIRST DAY OF PLAY WAS WITH JIM. WE GOT TO TALKING ABOUT FAMILY & I SHOWED HIM A PICTURE OF MY WIFE & HE SAID RIGHT OFF THAT IS MELAINIE & I WORKED WITH HER IN CALIF. WE HAVE BEEN FRIENDS EVER MORE. I WILL MISS HIS KINDNESS FOR SURE. RIP MY FRIEND

  6. Dennis Dalenberg says:

    My sorrow is great at Jim’s passing. My thoughts are with Debbie as she cares for her father’s affairs. I’m sure many of our older club members will miss Jim’s humor and friendship and, like me, will wish him well on his journey to forever. God’s blessings be upon him and his family.

  7. Allen Bettin says:

    When and where is the funeral or memorial service being held and at what time? Thank you, Allen

    Jim was a great guy. Never had a bad thing to say about anyone.

  8. Tony Dalton says:

    Jimmy was a gentle giant I can say it was a great privilege to have known Jimmy I will truly miss him godspeed Jim O’Keefe.

    Tony Dalton

  9. Don Peterson says:

    He was truly one if the nicest men I’ve ever known. I remember the day he took the Treasures role for the VGA from Marty Walsh. He went to Marty’s house and picked up all the records and provided the VGA with guidance to keep the organization financially sound for many years. Jim loved to play golf and helped promote the change to play from different tees to enjoy the game. He was the leading “mucker” of the VGA. God bless Jim and his family. He will be sorely missed by all.

    1. Don, thanks for introducing Jim to me he made my life better!!!God Bless You Jim!!!🙏🏻❤️🍺

  10. Fred Baldwin says:

    To All,

    The following is a note that Debi wrote last week. As you can see, Jim requested that there be no funeral.

    Fred Baldwin

    We got a call from the hospital at 5am this morning and went immediately. They decided he was too ill to transport to hospice so he stayed at the hospital. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at 11:30am. He wished to be cremated and no funeral so we are following his wishes. Sorry I can’t talk about it yet so you are getting an email.

  11. Frank Szakal says:

    I thank God I got to know Jim. We had some great trips together and I got to stay at his place and learn how to muck. A really great and caring person and I think the best crazy Bridge player out there. He will be sorely missed. Thank you Jim for giving me the chance to know you and be your friend.

    1. Harley Ewing says:

      Looking forward to it.

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