By: Sharon Aron Baron
A 31-year-old Coral Springs resident who was a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy lost a hard-fought battle with brain cancer on Saturday, July 4. Survivors include his wife, Jessica, and 10-month-old daughter, Mackenzie.
Thomas O’Keefe had been battling Stage 4 Glioblastoma multiform, which was an aggressive malignant brain tumor. First diagnosed back in 2007, he was in remission for many years, however, the tumors came back in January and since then he’s been in and out of hospitals many times. Our story here back in May.
Deputy O’Keefe was a third-generation law enforcement officer who followed in the career footsteps of his father and grandfather. He started working for BSO in 2003 at age 19. During his career, he served in the Tamarac, Deerfield Beach and Dania Beach districts. He also worked in multiple units in BSO’s Strategic Investigations Division.
In 2007, Deputy O’Keefe was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Through fund raisers and a GoFundMe account (www.gofundme.com/tommyokeefefund), his BSO colleagues, friends, family, members of the community and other law enforcement officers embraced the young father and his family, donating thousands of dollars to help with the extensive medical treatment Deputy O’Keefe’s condition required.
In addition to his wife and child, Deputy O’Keefe is survived by his parents, retired Officer Thomas O’Keefe, Sr. and Mrs. Leslie O’Keefe.
“He was a fighter,” Jessica O’Keefe said. “He fought this for so many years and never complained. He was very easygoing, very positive, and he loved his family.”
A wake will be held from 5 – 8 p.m. Wednesday at T.M. Ralph Funeral Home, 371 N.W. 136 Ave., Sunrise. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, 301 E. Broward Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the American Brain Tumor Association, 8550 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 550, Chicago, IL 60631.