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Longtime Latrobe firefighter enjoyed being outdoors |
Obituary Stories

Longtime Latrobe firefighter enjoyed being outdoors

Jeff Himler
John J. “Jack” Keefe, 81, of Latrobe, died at home on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

Jack Keefe wore many hats in the Latrobe community, including a firefighters’ helmet and, more recently, a stylish fedora, complete with a feather.

After retiring from positions at area manufacturers, he worked part-time for 19 years at the Giant Eagle supermarket in Unity.

“He couldn’t just sit at home,” his wife, Eileen, said of his job corralling carts in the supermarket parking lot. “They offered him different jobs to go inside the store, but he wanted to be outside.

“He always had a hat on. If he didn’t have his hat on, sometimes people wouldn’t recognize him.”

John J. “Jack” Keefe, 81, of Latrobe, died at home on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Born in Latrobe on Dec. 31, 1936, he was a son of the late John A. and Julia Keefe.

Mr. Keefe spent most of his career working for Kennametal, where he became a drafting supervisor. He applied his skills for other area employers, eventually retiring from Saint-Gobain Ceramics in Latrobe.

Mr. Keefe was a life member of Latrobe Volunteer Fire Department, Company 1. He served as assistant fire chief for a number of years, beginning in the early 1980s.

He joined the department in 1955, shortly after his lifelong friend, Regis Kessler, signed up. Kessler eventually served a stint as fire chief; Mr. Keefe’s additional roles with the department included relief association secretary.

“Jack and I spent many a sleepless night fighting fires when we were young,” Kessler said. “We missed a lot of family functions and meals.

“He was always willing to help with any of the activities at the fire station,” including manning the french fry stand for the annual Company 1 carnival.

Mr. Keefe’s three sons joined him in the department ranks. David Keefe continues to serve, as a second lieutenant with Company 5.

Mr. Keefe enjoyed hunting and was a Latrobe Little League coach for many years. He was a longtime usher and Holy Name Society member at Latrobe’s Holy
Family Church.

In addition to his wife of 57 years, Mr. Keefe is survived by three sons, John and his wife, Lisa, of Baltimore, Md., David and his wife, Dulce, of Latrobe, and Michael, of Latrobe; seven grandchildren; one great-granddaughter.

Friends will be received from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the John J. Lopatich Funeral Home, 601 Weldon St., Latrobe, where members of the Holy Name Society will recite the rosary at 6:30 p.m. and a fire department memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. that day.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Family Church, Latrobe. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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