Joan Marie O’Keefe

Joan Marie O’Keefe

March 8, 1941 – August 31, 2023

Joan was a faith-filled, devoted, and loving wife, mother, and Nana. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska and grew up in St. Peter’s Parish. She graduated from Mercy High School and later St. Joseph’s School of Nursing. She married Thomas Patrick O’Keefe, M.D. in 1962, and they built a life together over more than half a century.

Early in their marriage Tom and Joan lived in Columbus, Ohio, then Frankfurt, Germany, and eventually settled in Norfolk, Nebraska to raise four children. In retirement they returned to Omaha to be near their grandchildren.

Joan spread her love of life and nature to all. She volunteered for and led numerous organizations, including Catholic Charities and Questers. She enjoyed reading, cooking, collecting antiques, cross-stitching, birding, watching Jeopardy and The Journey Home, and celebrating Christmas, decorating her home with a vast collection of nutcrackers and Irish Santas.

Joan most loved spending time with her family, bringing everyone together for holidays, birthdays, and any other reason she could come up with. At Nana’s house, there was always a puzzle to help with or a game of cards hard won. Her love of Christ was at the core of all she did. Her legacy continues in her family: their Catholic faith, Irish traditions, and love of a good Christmas cookie.

Preceded in death by husband, Thomas Patrick O’Keefe; parents, John and Agnes Orcutt; and twin sister, Jean Follrath. Survived by four children and fifteen grandchildren: daughter, Theresa Gart, her husband Myles, and their children, Hannah, Ethan, Sophie and Isaac; daughter, Colleen Thakor, her husband Michael, and their son Tommy; son, Joseph and his children McKenna, Callahan, Brennan, Delaney, Brogan, Gabriel and Cecilia; son, Daniel, his wife Shannon and their children, Siobhan, Lachlan and Finn; brother, Ronald Orcutt; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Many thanks to Fr. John Pietramale, Fr. Craig Loecker, Fr. Rob Scheiblhofer, Deacon Randy Landenberger and all the EMHCs for the many visits to Joan while at the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home, where she received excellent care and met many new friends.

Please send Memorials and Mass requests to Christ the King Catholic Church and her parish, St. Leo’s Catholic Church.

VISITATION: Friday, September 8th from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the West Center Chapel, followed by prayer and Rosary at 7:00 p.m.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Saturday, September 9th, 10:00 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church, 654 S 86th St, Omaha.  Interment, Calvary Cemetery.

To view a live broadcast of the Rosary and Mass, please go to and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.



  • Anne Wilber Posted September 2, 2023 1:16 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to your mom. Praying for you and all your family.

  • Dr. Herbert & Sondra Feidler Posted September 3, 2023 9:06 pm

    Sending deepest sympathy to the family of Joan O’Keefe.
    Joan was a pleasant person with an engaging smile. We enjoyed Madison County Medical Meetings and other events through the years.. May God give you strength during this sad time.

  • Sue Buras Posted September 4, 2023 3:47 pm

    My heartfelt condolences to the family in this time of sorrow. I met Joan when I was working at the cemetery. She was a sweetheart, and I was saddened to see that she had passed.

  • Jack & Karen Kopecky Posted September 8, 2023 1:02 pm

    We recently spent a wonderful afternoon with Joan at the Kopecky family reunion. Although her health concerns were significant, she was lively and we had a special afternoon of shared memories and many laughs, My condolences to her family, She was a wonderful woman with many gifts and accomplishments,

  • Jack & Karen Kopecky Posted September 8, 2023 1:05 pm

    We recently spent a wonderful afternoon with Joan at the Kopecky family reunion, Although her health concerns were significant, she was lively and we shared memories. She was a wonderful woman with many gifts and accomplishments. Our condolences to her family. She will be missed.

  • Kathy Reardon Cruise Posted September 10, 2023 9:38 am

    Dear O’Keefe Kids, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. My mom had many good stories about she and my dad going to college with your parents. I loved listening to her tell how they carried loads of hours, worked at the hospital at nights and tried to make curfew and stay on the good side of the sisters when they were out “socializing”. It’s remarkable how many responsibilities were placed on them at such early stages of their medical lives. If I remember correctly I think Mom said they had to be the charge nurse on the night shift starting the second semester of their freshmen year. My brother and sister and I have many good memories of being at your house playing when we were little too. Prayers for your mom and you and your families. I will have some masses said for your mom and dad. Take Care ~ Kathy

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