Biography of Moseman Andrew O'Keeffe
San Francisco, CA Biographies





Moseman Andrew O'Keeffe was a lifelong resident of San Francisco and gave proof of his loyalty and devotion to his duty by many years of faithful and gallant service as a fire fighter. Born January 12, 1887, he was a son of Patrick and Catherine (Dudgeon) O'Keeffe, the former a native of County Cork and the latter of County Donegal, Ireland. The father came to California in 1874, while the mother arrived in the Golden state two years later, and they were married at San Francisco in 1877. Patrick O'Keeffe first went to the Feather River mining district, later working in the powder mills at Santa Cruz, and subsequently resumed mining. He spent the latter part of his life in retirement, responding to death's summons in 1905, and for thirteen years was survived by his wife, who passed away in 1918.

Their son, Moseman A. O'Keeffe, pursued his studies in San Francisco until the completion of his high school course and after considering various lines of activity decided to become a fireman. This work he found so congenial that he remained a member of the San Francisco fire department until his death on the 2d of May, 1931, at the age of forty four years. Ten minutes after he reported Goff duty he was stricken with a heart attack in a rear room of No. 13 engine house at Twenty sixth and Valencia streets, and expired on the way to Mission Emergency Hospital. Industrious, conscientious and capable, he gave to his city the best efforts of his life and his death was probably due to injuries received several years ago while fighting a water front fire, when a fireman fell on top of him from a second story window.

In 1927 Mr. O'Keeffe had married Miss Sadie Finlay, of Minnesota, and two children, William D. and Juliette, were born to them. Mr. O'Keeffe was a member of the Widows and Orphans Mutual Aid Association, the Veteran Firemen's Association of San Francisco, David Scannell Club, and Service Post, No. 97, of the American Legion. Affectionately termed "Mickey" by his friends, he possessed many lovable qualities which endeared him to all who knew him, and his passing occasioned deep sorrow and regret.

Besides his widow and children, Mr. O'Keeffe is survived by a brother, William D. O'Keeffe, who was born in Santa Cruz, California, March 9, 1878, and when but eighteen months old was brought by his parents to San Francisco. He attended the grammar and high schools of the city and after his graduation entered upon an apprenticeship to the printer's trade with the old firm of Britton & Ray. However, that occupation did not appeal to him and he associated himself with the old Eureka Warehouse Company, owned by Seth Clisby. This line of activity also proved uncongenial and he next sought work on the water front. A born stevedore, he became well known in that connection, serving for some time as financial secretary of the Stevedores' Union of San Francisco. Afterward he joined the city's force of fire fighters and through his association with that department rendered valuable service to San Francisco during the memorable earthquake and fire of 1906. Starting as a patrolman in the police department in 1907, he has continued in that branch of civic service and in 1918 was advanced to the rank of sergeant. He still holds that rank and is on duty at the Western Addition station. Mr. O'Keeffe married Miss Juliette O'Reilly, a native of Philadelphia and they reside at 2801 Sacramento street. For more than a half century Mr. O'Keeffe has made his home in San Francisco, witnessing much of its growth and progress, and has manifested his love for the city by effective efforts in its behalf. His life has been one of quiet devotion to duty and his genuine worth is attested by a wide circle of steadfast friends.

From:
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931


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