Priscilla O'Keefe, obituary

Posted:  Friday, May 24, 2013 - 4:00pm

VINALHAVEN — Priscilla Lewis O'Keefe, 93, died peacefully Oct. 10, 2012, at her home of 44 years on Lanes Island in Vinalhaven.

Born May 22, 1919, in Framingham, Mass., she was the daughter of Edmund Sanford Lewis and Myrtie Holbrook Lewis.

Priscilla graduated from Wellesley College in 1941 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a major in Geography.

Priscilla married Gregory O'Keefe Jr. in 1942. Priscilla was accepted for Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Camp LeJeune, N.C., and graduated in November 1943 as a second lieutenant. She later served with a Marine Air Wing based at Cherry Point, N.C. until May, 1945. The patriotic experience of serving her country during World War II as a Marine Corps officer was unforgettable and a source of pride and strength throughout her life.

Priscilla taught in the Greenwich public school system for seven years while raising her family. She received her master's degree in education from Southern Connecticut State College in 1968.

Also in 1968, Priscilla realized her dream of moving to Maine, purchasing a home on Lanes Island. Priscilla was an active member of the Vinalhaven Garden Club and its president from 1976 to 1978. She was also president of the Arts & Recreation Center, initiating the popular "Evening with the Artist" series, featuring such art luminaries as Robert Indiana and Carolyn Brady. She was a member of the Union Church and Senior Extension. She and her husband enjoyed the adventure of extensive foreign travel.

In 1997 Priscilla was honored at the dedication of the Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C., for her service in the Marine Corps in World War II with the Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Women's Memorial Medal and the inclusion of her name on the memorial.

Family and friends will remember Priscilla for her radiant smile, buoyant optimism and devotion to her family.

Priscilla was predeceased by her husband of 50 years, Gregory O'Keefe Jr., in 1993; her brother, Edmund Sanford Lewis; and two sisters, Rosamond Lewis Howes and Frances LeBaron Poole.

Surviving are three children, her daughter, Michele of Vinalhaven; two sons, Dr. Gregory O'Keefe III and his wife, Nancy, of Little Falls, N.Y., and Geoffrey O'Keefe of Winterport; and one grandson, Matthew O'Keefe of Portland, Ore.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 29, at 1 p.m. at the Union Church in Vinalhaven, with a reception following the service at The Haven.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Friends of the Vinalhaven Library, P.O. Box 223, Vinalhaven, ME 04863.

Correspondence to the family may be sent to P.O. Box 298, Vinalhaven, ME 04863.

Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home in Rockland.