Dan and Kelly O’Keefe are hosting a Celebration of Life in honor of their son, Connor, who died tragically last weekend.
The announcement was made on O’Keefe’s Facebook page.
“Come join us as we celebrate the life of Connor O’Keefe. As a community we can grieve, cry, hug and remember his beautiful presence.”
The three hour community event starts at noon and will be held at Santa Barbara Junior High School at 721 E. Cota Street in the Marjorie Luke Theatre on campus.
Friends of 18-year-old Connor O’Keefe are struggling to come to terms with his tragic death.
The Santa Barbara High School student was struck and killed by a train in Montecito on Saturday afternoon.
As the family and community mourns the unimaginable loss, friends and teammates of O’Keefe came forward to speak out about his remarkable life and share memories of their beloved friend.
Water polo players from three local high schools gathered in Summerland on Sunday and said O’Keefe lit up every room he entered.
“He was the happiest guy and you just wanted to always surround yourself with him because it seemed that life is always better when you are around him,” said Jesse Morrison, a senior at San Marcos High School. “He could make any of us laugh at any time no matter what was going on in our lives. He was just the best guy.”
O’Keefe was also an accomplished water polo player.
“He was great, great athlete. Great to have in the pool. He brought so much,” said Taylor Gustason, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School.
O’Keefe had many other passions besides water polo.
“Connor was a brother to me. I was a teammate of his for years and he was passionate about so many things, he loved photography,” said Santa Barbara High School senior Jack Rottman. ‘It’s so sad to see him go at such a young age. He had such a bright future.”
“When I think of Connor, I just think of his huge smile. I think he has the biggest smile of anyone I’ve ever known. There wasn’t a moment with him that I was not happy,” said San Marcos High School senior Adam Fuller.
“So many thoughts and words come to mind. It’s too soon. It’s the ultimate tragedy anyone can go through, especially to such a beautiful genuine person. I’ve never met a person so full of joy who transmitted that joy to everyone he was with,” said Santa Barbara High School senior Adam Gross.
The seniors are just months from graduation and said it won’t be the same without O’Keefe there.
“I’m still kind of in shock. I shake when I talk about it. I can’t image his wide-teeth smile and green big eyes looking at you,” said Sawyer Rhodes, a senior at Santa Barbara High School. “He was like so so happy and enthusiastic and energetic. His energy was so contagious. It’s going to be different without him here and it’s a tragedy.
O’Keefe’s friends said they want his parents and brothers to know they will always be around for the family and their bond with O’Keefe is unbreakable.
The cause of death has not been released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.