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John D.'s Story

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Mr. John D. Keeffe, 71, of Salem, died Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at the Devereux House in Marblehead.
Born March 9, 1945, before the end of World War II, he was the son of the late John J. and Ruth F. (Marrin) Keeffe. He grew up in Salem, where he attended St. Mary’s School, until 1958. He was an active Boy Scout, reaching the rank of Star, and was a scout leader in Marblehead.
Following graduation he attended St. John’s Preparatory School, where he studied the Classics and Spanish, and graduated in the summer of 1962. In the fall he commenced studies at Boston College School of Management. He majored in marketing and sales management and graduated in the summer of 1966.
John enjoyed skiing, ski racing, racquetball, flying, baseball, and hockey. An avid photographer, he enjoyed taking family photos and landscape and aerial shots of the North Shore. His best photography was of his daughter and family.
His first job was supervising 35 people in the Star Market Cash Department. He developed, executed, and analyzed the area's first food industry market research study regarding consumer preferences and needs for the late president, John Mugar.
He also held increasingly responsible marketing and sales promotion positions in consumer and industrial sectors. Companies such as Gulf and Western, Cabot Corporation, Computervision, GTE-Sylvania, and Varian Associates are well-known firms where he was employed.
While at Varian, he started as a technical specialist for instruments. As products manager, he performed market research to discover customer needs and preferences for a state of the art digital microprocessor-based instrument, which measured and controlled vacuum in production or research environments for semi-conductor processing and defense systems.
He also worked in a small medical practice in marketing and promotions as well as collecting severely delinquent amounts of owed funds. Some accounts were as far away as Washington and Florida. Although not an attorney, he won 98 percent of small claims cases and won a NYNEX court case.
John always said the very best time in his life was the time spent raising and caring for his terrific daughter, Catherine. She was the love of his life and a warm and caring person.
In 1966, John enlisted in the U.S. Army and reported for basic training at Fort Bragg, N.C. Wheel and track maintenance was his specialty while taking advanced, individual training at the U.S. Ordinance Center and School at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. He served in the 187th Support Battalion in Hingham, repairing troop transport trucks and vehicles.
In 1973, he saved three people on route 128 in Waltham. They were trying to change a tire in the passing lane on the right side of the car. A year later he helped an amnesia victim and brought her to the authorities. In 2001 his mother with severe dementia needed care. John cared for her in her own home for three years while his sisters were getting her critical care and medication for many years.
John is survived by his daughter, Catherine Keeffe; and sisters, Patricia McGinness, Kristine O’Day, Jean Fernandes; and brother, Paul Keeffe.
His funeral will be held from the Peterson-O’Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St. (Route 62), Danvers, Saturday, Feb. 18, at 9 a.m., followed by his funeral Mass in the Immaculate Conception Church, Hawthorne Blvd., Salem at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends invited. Burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Salem. Visiting hours Friday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. Donations in John’s memory to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 15829, Arlington, VA 22215. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit www.odonnellfuneralservice.com.
Published on  February 16, 2017
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