Friday, June 3, 2011

Rest In Peace Jeffrey Martin Keefe

"沉痛悼念杰夫凯夫先生" - Deepest condolences for Mr. jeffrey Keefe (roughly)

I am sad to say a colleague of mine here at Shanxi Normal University, and fellow American, passed away unexpectedly May 19th (It would have still been the 18th in America) at the age of 52. A local funeral service was held this morning in the wake of this unfortunate event. Jeff and I were not particularly close; I came here with the intention of spending more time with the locals rather than other foreigners, but it was clear he was a very kind man and he loved his work. When I first arrived in Linfen, Jeff greeted me warmly. I distinctly remember one time early on sitting in his apartment and drinking a beer with him as he rambled on about all the foods he had managed to find here, the computer-TV combo thing he had going on, his crazy red couch and other various things.

What I know of Jeff's past isn't much. He was a veteran of the US Army; married but divorced. His last four years were spent teaching English, one here and three in Korea. This summer he was planning to visit America for the first time since he left four years ago. I'm not sure what he did before that, or what else he may have left behind, but I know that those who knew him here will miss him dearly. This is evident by the busloads of students who attended the service this morning and those still that had to be turned away due to a lack of space. In a city of over 700,000 people, I can't help but feel the streets are a little empty without Jeff ridding by on his electric scooter; may he rest in peace.

1 comment:

Phyllis Jones said...

Thank you so for posting this. I am Jeff's sister and we will always miss him. It has been good for our family to see the outpouring of love from his colleagues and students.