Santa Barbara- S County

Hundreds turn out to celebrate life of high school senior killed by train

Public memorial for Connor O'Keefe

Hundreds of people filled the Marjorie Luke Theatre on Saturday to celebrate the life of 18-year-old Connor O'Keefe.

The Santa Barbara High School senior was struck and killed by a train on March 11 in Montecito.

Friends, fellow athletes, teachers and family all spoke about how O'Keefe made a huge impact on their lives with his big smile, and incredible personality.  They recounted stories and special memories of O'Keefe to an audience that laughed and cried throughout the ceremony.

O'Keefe touched so many lives that not everyone could fit into the theater, the overflow of attendees stood in the hallways outside.

"We knew he was a well liked kid, but we didn't know how many lives he touched, each in their own special way," said his mother Kelly O'Keefe. "To say that our family has been blown away by the outpouring of support from this community is just an understatement."

Kelly O'Keefe also said her son showed everyone how to love deeply. 

"There wasn't an in between with this kid. If you were lucky enough to have been loved by Connor, know that that love went straight to his core. He didn't know how to love any other way."

O'Keefe's father Dan reminisced about taking long road trips together, his son's achievements in water polo and the deep pride he felt when his son attended his alma mater, Santa Barbara High School.

"That first day you put on your Dons water polo gear, I was so proud," Dan O'Keefe said.  "We just had your letterman's jacket finished and I know you wore it without your patches. We have that and we will cherish it forever."

Dan O'Keefe asked the audience not to forget his son or their family in the days, weeks and months ahead as they heal from the the tremendous loss.

Kelly O'Keefe said her son's death has jolted the community forever.

"We all know how precious life is because of Connor," she said. "May we all live a little better, love a little harder and be a little kinder because of my son."

 


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