Several family members of the late Jim Keefe of Woodstock were in Springfield on Tuesday as the House of Representatives paid its respects to their father and grandfather, who passed away on November 21, 2017.
With the family looking on from the gallery, members of the House approved HR 771, which mourns the death of the long-time Woodstock resident and active community volunteer. “Many communities are known for their festivals and events, and in most cases there is one individual or a few people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to makes these types of events a success and make a community what it is,” said Reick. “In Woodstock, that person was Jim Keefe.”
Keefe was born in Chicago on January 13, 1932 and moved to Woodstock at the age of six. He attended local Catholic schools and played basketball at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa until he was drafted during his sophomore year. He served his country with distinction in the U.S. Army as a military policeman during the Korean War, and then returned to St. Ambrose to finish his college degree.
After marrying Mary Ellen Burmeister just two weeks after finishing college, Jim and Mary Ellen became very active community volunteers in Woodstock while they raised their children Kelly, Erin, Patrick and Quinn. They ultimately had the privilege of spoiling several grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
In addition to being an active member of St. Mary Parish and serving as a Knight of the Roman Catholic Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Jim was also a charter member of the Woodstock Rotary Club, where he recorded over 49 years of perfect attendance. He also served in the Woodstock City Council, on several municipal boards and was a member of the local Jaycees, Lions Club and Elks Club. In 2002 he was awarded the Harold Buschkopf award for community service.
“The Rotary motto is ‘service above self’ and Jim Keefe lived that every day I knew him,” Reick said.
Jim Keefe was well known in McHenry County as a great storyteller and photographer, and for his “History of Woodstock” slide presentations that were shown to groups around the area. Click here to read the honorary resolution and click here to watch Rep. Reick’s floor comments as he introduced the legislation.