Obituary of David Daniel Keefe
David Daniel Keefe
David Keefe died suddenly on March, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. He was 37.
Born in 1985 to Ronald Keefe and Deborah Smith, he spent his childhood in Goshen, NY and Basking Ridge, NJ, graduating from Ridge High School in 2003.
Dave’s zest for life was simply unparalleled. His love of adventure was nurtured at the AWESIM Kids summer programs at the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge. The program’s trip to Costa Rica informed the remainder of Dave’s life by opening his eyes to the wider world.
Tall and handsome, Dave had a charismatic personality that had a profound impact on people’s lives by bringing them joy and fun. His spirit of adventure was electrifying.
David experienced more in his shortened lifetime than most people would in a full span. His mantra was that vacation should be all of life, not just a two-week yearly event. He was a minimalist who only needed the basics; it was much more important to him to take on a new experience at a moment’s notice.
He succeeded at anything he put his hand to. Skiing for the first time in 6th grade, Dave excelled, eventually captaining the fledgling Ridge Ski Team. He also received his SCUBA certification while in high school, and as an adult pursued some commercial diving. In college, he was determined to run a marathon, completing the Seattle Marathon.
David completed the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Semester in the Rockies before entering college, and used the skills learned there throughout the rest of his life, including leading his family on many backcountry hikes.
An honors graduate of The Colorado College, Dave was awarded the University of Regensburg Scholarship for a full year of study in Germany, becoming fluent in German, and traveling the length and breadth of Europe. He also took a semester off to travel for several months throughout India. After graduation from college, Dave worked as a ski instructor at Winterpark, CO and at Perisher, Australia, achieving his PSIA Level II Instructor certification. He also pursued a love of rock climbing.
An accomplished mariner, Dave’s interest in sailing began at a high school summer program with Broadreach. Later, while working a summer job in St. John, USVI, his interest in sailing reignited. He earned his second level Coastguard Mariner’s license and from then on sailing was his career. After mastering the waters of the Virgin Islands as a charter boat captain for several years, Dave sought more experience, and he signed on to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in both eastward and westward directions. He then purchased and refitted his own sailboat and sailed from Los Angeles to the Hawaiian Big Island, where he lived and worked, sailing all the waters of the Hawaiian Islands.
Returning to the East Coast in 2017, David pursued an Associate’s Degree in Physical Therapy, graduating from the ECPI School of Health Sciences at the top of his class. He had a lifelong interest in physical training, working out almost daily, and recently became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He parlayed his interest in physical fitness into helping others, working as a Physical Therapy Associate. Living on the Chesapeake Bay, he outfitted his own sailboat and continued to sail.
David was a gifted writer and speaker, and loved reading. He was self-educated on many topics and would carry a fascinating conversation on just about any topic.
In addition to his parents, David leaves behind his brother Joe and Joe’s wife Jocelyn and their two children; his companion of many years Daina Fawn Cockrell; uncles Chuck Gilligan and Dick Keefe and their families; and many friends whose lives he touched deeply.
Funeral arrangements are by Burroughs, Kohr & Dangler (Madison) with visitation on Friday evening 14 April from 5:00 to 7:00 PM and funeral services Saturday 15 April at 11:00 AM at Restland Memorial Park, East Hanover, NJ. Casual dress is encouraged.
There will be future celebrations of Dave’s life in his beloved Hawaii and at the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.
Those who wish to memorialize Dave are encouraged to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Somerset County Park Foundation with the memo David Keefe EEC Fund, 190 Lord Stirling Rd., Basking Ridge, NJ 07920, or via DKEECgivesmart.com.
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