Dr. Jerome Keefe honored for 50 years dedicated service
By Carol Young
Nearly 200 people gathered at the Community Building at the Cheyenne County fairgrounds on Sunday, Oct. 11 for Dr. Jerome Keefe's Golden Jubilee celebration. Dr. Keefe has served Cheyenne Wells and the surrounding communities for 50 years.
People came to honor Dr. Keefe, to thank him for his years of dedication to quality health care for the community, to reminisce about good times and bad, or simply to enjoy the company of a man who is a legend in his own time, at least in his corner of eastern Colorado.
Speakers stressed the selflessness of Dr. Keefe's years of service. How he could have earned more money or gathered a wider range of recognition in a larger community. How he made no distinction between rich or poor or socially prominent, but treated all patients fairly and equally.
Former hospital administrator and nurse Linda Roth said Dr. Keefe was "slow to anger, quick to smile, . . .eager to teach, always fun to work with." After the party, Nancy Bogenhagen, who worked at the hospital with Dr Keefe for many years, said she was "overwhelmed" by the celebration. "
It is about more than just Dr. Keefe," she said, "it is about the entire community of Cheyenne Wells. It is such a pleasure to have known him and I really appreciate all he has done."
Dr. Keefe received a standing ovation after the 20-minute video celebrating his life and career put together by his son Gerald Keefe wit help from several other people. People also stood to applaud as Dr. Keefe rose to say, "What a day!"
A great crowd of people rose to their feet, too, when all of the women present who had had babies delivered by Dr. Keefe, and any of the babies themselves, were asked to rise. Not surprisingly, as Dr. Keefe estimates he has delivered approximately 1,500 babies in his time.
Members of the audience were seen surreptitiously wiping tears away when some part of the proceeding touched a heart or sparked a reminiscence. Tears were shed, too, as Dr. Keefe acknowledged the wonderful support of his wife Ellen, saying he "couldn't have done it without her."
While Sunday's party was Dr. Keefe's Golden Jubilee, it was definitely not his retirement party. Dr. Keefe is the primary care physician for residents of Cheyenne Manor nursing home and intends to continue in that role.
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