Gerald O’Keefe: 1916– [Heath 1929–?]

I first met my father-in-law, Gerald O’Keefe, before I met my wife. The same school background separated us by 25 years but still a couple of the staff were the same.

Gerry was one of the few Roman Catholics at the time to attend Heath as he was recommended for a grammar school education but his parents could not afford to send him to St Bede’s, Bradford. This was Heath’s gain. His prowess at rugby and cricket was curtailed by leaving before the Sixth Form. He also belonged to the long defunct Scout Troop.

Joining the Gas Board seems incongruous now but the war saved him from that and gave impetus to his love of sport. He became a PT instructor in Scotland and served in India with the Seaforth Highlanders, earning the Burma Star and learning Urdu. This served him well in striking up conversations with bus conductors on the route to work in Bradford and, memorably, when umpiring a Bradford League cricket match, where a choice phrase in Urdu quelled a near riotous situation.

Gerry worked for the Inland Revenue for 34 years. His leisure time was mostly devoted to sport, first playing rugby (Heath Old Boys and the Vandals), then as a Yorkshire referee. After playing cricket, Gerry’s 41 seasons as an umpire in the Bradford League was only broken by his death on . Local operatic societies, including being a founder member of the Catholic Amateurs, worshipper at St Bernard’s, Halifax, member of Probus and bowling at Ackroydon Victoria were some other interests.

Gerry’s wife, Marcella, pre-deceased him by three years and he is survived by his daughters, Sheila, Madeline and Angela, sons-in-law, grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Chris Nestor [Heath 1958–1965]

We extend belated sympathy to Chris and to his father-in-law’s family.

First appeared in the Newsletter dated