Mr Patrick O'Keeffe

Titanic survivor from County Waterford, Ireland

Mr Patrick O'Keeffe was born at Little Michael Street in Waterford City, Co Waterford, Ireland on 11 July 1890.1

He was the son of John O'Keeffe (b. 24 October 1872), a quarry labourer, and Catherine Fitzgerald (b. 15 October 1871), Waterford natives who had married in St Patrick's Church on 27 October 1887 and who were both underage at the time of their union; John O'Keeffe had just turned 15 and his bride, who was with child, just 16 but both stated they were of full age to be wed. 

Patrick had eight known siblings: John (b. 23 February 1888), James (b. 1 January 1893), Ellen (b. 13 November 1897), Susan (b. 2 August 1902), Mary (b. 1 May 1900), Mary (b. 28 October 1903), Arthur (b. 21 August 1905) and Edward (b. 12 August 1907).

He and his family appear on the 1901 census living at 6 Little Michael Street in Waterford. By the time of the 1911 census, the family home was 9 Kizby's Lane, Waterford; his father was stated to be a widower by this stage but what became of Patrick's mother remains unknown. Patrick was also absent from the census, having migrated the previous year.

Patrick emigrated to the USA in 1910, arriving in New York on 4 September 1910 aboard the Celtic. He made his home in that city and worked as a porter but returned to Ireland for a month's holiday in 1912. His family were then believed to have lived at 2 Spring Garden Alley in Waterford.

For his return to the USA Patrick boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger (ticket number 368402 which cost £7, 15s). Before boarding, he sent a postcard to his father where he expressed his sorrow that he was leaving Ireland again. He later said that his distress at leaving was so great that he had a premonition that the ship would sink and tried in vain to sell his ticket in Queenstown before he eventually embarked. He was travelling alone.

On the night of the sinking, Patrick ascended to the upper decks and presumably remained board the ship during her final throes. Finding himself in the water he managed to pull himself aboard the capsized collapsible B and later assisted two other men aboard, describing them both as a Southampton-man and a Guernsey Islander.

Upon reaching New York aboard Carpathia O'Keeffe was described as a 21-year-old porter and was destined to the home of his cousin John Phelan at West 38th Street, New York. He spent time in St Vincent's Hospital for convalescence having sustained heavy bruising, rendering him unable to work for several weeks. He later received a grant from the American Red Cross for $102.

In New York Patrick later worked as a window dresser in a department store and later as an elevator operator in an office building.

He began a relationship with Anna Nolan (b. 25 May 1905), a native New Yorker born to Irish parents. The couple were wed in Jersey City, New Jersey on 19 September 1923 and had two children: Margaret Veronica (b. 26 June 1924) and Edward (b. 4 December 1925) but they later divorced. The separation was short-lived and they were re-wed on 8 February 1936. 

Patrick became a US citizen in March 1936 and his address was then listed as 973 Columbus Avenue, New York City. The family had also lived at 120 West 109th Street, Manhattan.

Patrick died on 16 December 1939 aged 49. He was buried in God of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.

His widow Anna later remarried to Andrew Vincent Bartlett (1896-1978) before her death in October 1968. His daughter Margaret never married and was later an executive with the Revlon Corporation; she died in 1988. His son later married and had two daughters.

Grave
Patrick O'Keefe's Grave
(Courtesy: Phillip Gowan and Joseph LaRocca, USA / Senan Molony, Ireland)

 

Articles and Stories

New York Times (1912) 
 

Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Phillip Gowan, USA
Noel Ray, Ireland

Notes

  1. Birthdate as per birth registration; he later cited the date as 15 July 1890 in his naturalisation papers.

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).
Noel Ray (1999) List of Passengers who Boarded RMS Titanic at Queenstown, April 11, 1912. The Irish Titanic Historical Society

Link and cite this biography

(2018) Patrick O'Keeffe Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1093, updated 4th July 2018 16:31:48 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/patrick-okeefe.html

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