TROY Joseph Donald Keffer died peacefully at 84 years of age at the end of a happy and busy Sunday's work on February 6, 2005. He was born in McSherrystown, Pa. on October 22, 1920, the youngest of a daughter and nine sons born to John Keffer and Estella Poist Keffer. The box factory and farms and bakery which the family operated provided ample year-round work experience for Father Keffer and his eight older brothers, who all demonstrated the wonderful work ethic through life learned from their father and their home life. Father Keffer's formal education began at St. Mary's School in McSherrystown and continued at Central Catholic High School in that community, where he was also known for his prowess on the football field. Father Joe entered Villanova University in the business school in 1938, graduating with an B.A. in 1941. From Villanova, he entered the Augustinian Order's seminary with a year of postulancy at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, N.Y. He was received as a novice on September 9, 1942 at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y. and made first profession of vows on September 10, 1943. Theological studies and additional graduate work followed at Augustinian College, Washington, DC and at the Catholic University of America. He was ordained a priest at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on June 10, 1947, and so began 58 years of service to the Church. Father Keffer's first assignment was to parish ministry at St. Mary's, Waterford. After only a few months there, he was assigned to formation work as sub-master of novices at Good Counsel Novitiate. In 1952, he was asked to be a part of the first group of Augustinian friars to staff the new Archbishop Carroll High School, Washington, DC. The decade of pioneer teaching and youth ministry at Carroll which followed formed memories bringing much satisfaction through the years and a sense of pride. Some of his students, many of whom he also guided as athletic director and coach, have maintained their friendship for the ensuing half-century. Five more years of seminary work as master of professed at Villanova were followed by four years of setting a brothers' formation program in motion and serving also as prior and procurator of the novitiate community. Then came 34 years of parish ministry as associate pastor and pastor. His assignments brought him to Flourtown and Havertown, Pa., to Andover, Mass., to Rosemont, Pa., and then to St. Mary's, Waterford for 11 years as pastor. St. Joseph's, Greenwich, N.Y. followed, and finally these last ten years at Saint Augustine's, Lansingburgh, Troy. Father Joe was deeply devoted to the Holy Eucharist and to Our Lady. He fostered these devotions wherever he was assigned. Though he battled cancer and heart problems, he continued to work in parish ministry, generously giving himself in service to his people as a listener and spiritual counselor, a good confessor and friend, a faithful minister of the sacraments. Father's body will be received at Saint Augustine's at 1 p.m. on Thursday, February 10 and will be present there for wake and prayer through the afternoon and evening. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 7:30. Funeral services will continue at St. Thomas of Villanova on Friday with Vespers at the monastery chapel at 4:30 p.m. and Mass at 7 p.m. Burial will be Saturday at 10:30 in the Augustinian lot. Gifts in lieu of flowers may be given to the Saint Augustine's Preservation Fund or the Augustinian Guild, 25-115th Street, Troy, NY 12182. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the John J. Sanvidge Funeral Home, Inc., 565 Fourth Avenue, Troy, NY 12182. (518) 235-0952.
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Published by Albany Times Union from Feb. 9 to Feb. 10, 2005.