Thomas Keefe Obituary, Death – Thomas Keefe, Ph.D., was a professor emeritus of history at Saint Joseph’s University and a longstanding supporter of the University library. He passed away at the beginning of November, and the university is saddened by his passing. Keefe attended St. Mary’s University in Minnesota for his bachelor’s degree, Denver University for his master’s degree, and Loyola University Chicago for his doctorate. In 1964, he became a member of the Saint Joseph’s University history faculty. Keefe was a professor at the university, where he taught a wide variety of classes, ranging from introductory seminars to intensives on the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. His primary areas of scholarly interest were modern Germany, socialism in the 19th century, and the French Revolution.
Keefe had been a regular visitor to the Post Learning Commons ever since he retired from teaching in the year 2012, making daily afternoon trips as a volunteer in the University archives. Since then, he had not missed a single day in the library. Keefe would welcome staff members and student workers at the library with hand-picked nicknames before jumping right into his job in the history department of the library. There, he would shelf-read, locate volumes that needed to be acquired, and type furiously on his typewriter.
Keefe was always a stalwart supporter of the library, making donations on an annual basis to help maintain the history collection in addition to supporting other fields of study. He was a passionate collector of jazz music, and many of the records, cassettes, and CDs that he acquired are now housed in the SJU Archives and Special Collections. Not only is he known for his expertise, but also for the collegiality he displayed with his peers.
“He was a historian of the old school who made history count by never forgetting that story was essential to knowing the past and believing biography taught lessons about connections between thought and action…. “He was a historian of the old school who made history count by never forgetting that story was essential to know the past. Tom Keefe gave off the appearance of a dervish as he puffed with a pipe in his mouth and barreled down the hallways, even though he was consistently late for class. In reality, however, he always knew where he was going and what he was doing. And by doing so, he improved all of our lives in countless ways.