BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A life well lived. That's how Jeremiah "Jerry" O'Keefe, III was remembered Saturday during a funeral mass at Nativity BVM Cathedral in Biloxi. He died Tuesday at the age of 93.
O'Keefe was a war hero, former mayor, state representative, respected businessman and philanthropist. Family and friends filled the cathedral to celebrate O'Keefe's long and full life sharing praises of his accomplishments as a faithful man, family man, and a man of service.
After the service, O'Keefe's funeral procession made its way to Ocean Springs led by the Patriot Guard and a flyover. A horse-drawn hearse met the procession and then carried O'Keefe to his final resting place at Evergreen Cemetery. The horse and carriage procession was a nod to the origins of the family funeral business that began in 1865, known today as Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Services.
O'Keefe earned the status of Flying Ace in WWII, was awarded the U.S. Navy Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the air Medal, Gold Star, and in 2015 the Congressional Gold Medal for American Aces. He served in the Mississippi State Legislature from 1959-1963, and two terms as Biloxi mayor from 1973-1981. In 1996 he and his wife Annette formed the O'Keefe Foundation to benefit local charities.