Emlen J. O’Keeffe

Emlen J. O’Keeffe

Emlen J. O’Keeffe, 80, of Madison, passed away peacefully on. January 3, 2018, at Agrace Hospice in Madison, surrounded by her husband, Michael A. O’Keeffe, her son Gerald O’Keeffe, and grandsons, Michael O’Keeffe and Aidan O’Keeffe.

She had a long battle with MDS and Leukemia.

Emlen was born in Madison to Dr. Frank Jones and Helen Rumsey Jones. She graduated from Newton High School in Massachusetts and held a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.Ed from Tufts University. Emlen’s long teaching career began in Würzburg, Germany and continued in Massachusetts, Florida and at Iowa-Grant in Wisconsin. She taught elementary grades and was a Reading Specialist. She also started a pre-school in Boca Grande, Florida. Emlen was adventurous and traveled widely, living with her family in Germany, the Republic of Panamá and Mexico. She studied Spanish in Guatemala. Later, her special interest was Russia, and she crossed that country on the Trans-Siberian Railway by herself. She possessed a selfless and generous nature to the very end. While receiving care at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, she developed a plan to help young patients in the hospital who struggled with reading difficulties. She was devoted to her two sons and five grandchildren and loved attending Grandparents University each year at UW-Madison as well as going cross-country skiing. She was often seen walking her Welsh Corgi, Katya.

She is survived by her husband, Michael A. O’Keeffe; her sons, Michael K. O’Keeffe (MN), and Gerald W. O’Keeffe (IL); five grandchildren, Levente (MN), Grace (IL), Michael E. (IL), Aidan (IL), and Liliana (MN); brothers, Thomas Jones (MD) and Evan Jones (RI).

A memorial gathering will be held at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, on Sunday, January 21, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center.

Cress Funeral & Cremation Services
3610 Speedway Road Madison
(608) 238-3434