By Millicent Kellogg, St Patrick’s Day, 2014

Shannon O'Keefe

Shannon James O’Keefe

Shannon died yesterday…

Nothing stings more than saying that.

He was the Irishman everybody knew as

The Morgan Hill/Irish part of the world.


He was six feet seven, tattoos all over,

And a laugh you could hear in Salinas

On a windless day – and that was

Only the start of his being present.


He could fell a tree two inches to the

Right if you wanted, or five feet to the

Left if you changed your mind midway.

And he always grinned in appreciation……


Turning modestly to accept your applause.

The heaviest stumps were rolled on the truck

By arms as big as the tree’s own boughs.

Moe, his dinky dog, barked large from the cab.


We expected to have him near the rest of our lives.

We needed him so much, to help with the heavy,

To clear out the debris of the world,

To laugh at the funny, most often his own funny.


He could start the chain saw with one pull

Sink a fence post that never moved again

Stride across the pasture like it was his oasis,

Leaving an image behind like a colored shadow.


He and his motorcycle roared together,

A powerful proclamation that life was good.

And they died together. That seemed right, perhaps

No lingering, no helpless gestures, no pain or regret.


Top of the World, Shannon O’Keefe.

No one like you – the angels are going to freak.

You are Irish Now and Forever. We miss you terribly.

Laugh out loud daily, dear heart. We will hear you.


Marty Cheek

Marty Cheek

Publisher at Morgan Hill Life
Marty Cheek is the publisher of Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy Life. He is also the co-author with Congressman Jerry McNerney of the book Clean Energy Nation: Freeing America From the Tyranny of Fossil Fuels.
Phone: (408) 782-7575
Marty Cheek