A present and playful father, a loving husband, a doting granddad, a community-builder, and a creative soul, Ron (Ronald) Lex O’Keefe (Potter) lived a full life, reflective of his commitment to family, community, creativity, and wellness. Ron was always searching for a slow-paced lifestyle, yet was steadfast in partnering on projects that would benefit the community.
Born on April 9, 1947 in Los Angeles, California, Ron O’Keefe is the only child of Elizabeth Romel (Shisler) and Thomas Lex Potter. He graduated from Downey High School in 1965. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1967-1972, on the USS Grant, Submarine Squadron, at Pearl Harbor. Ron graduated from San Diego State University with his BA, and from Chico State University with his Master’s Degree in Commercial Recreation. Ron spent much of his youth surfing and traveling the world.
Ron partnered to launch radio station KFMF-FM and a health club in Chico, California, was an adjunct professor of communications/TV production at Pepperdine University, and founded the Ventura County Tri-Club.
The O’Keefe family moved to Cottage Grove in the early 1990s, where Ron spent his career in real estate, being named Realtor of the Year in 2013. He was instrumental in the development and sustainability of the Cottage Grove Community Center, Cottage Grove Skate Park, downtown revitalization efforts, the Cottage Grove Kids’ Club, the Boys & Girls Club of Cottage Grove, the Cottage Grove Kids’ Triathlon, and supporting improvements for Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center. In 2013, he received the First Citizen Award from the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce. He taught guitar lessons, was a prolific song-writer, and played music at community events and open mic nights. While Ron loved performing music on the stage, the spotlight was never his goal- it was always about community.
Ron reveled in epic tales of surfing adventures, was an avid triathlete for more than three decades, loved Oregon Duck football, and enjoyed swimming at Cottage Grove Lake. He perfected the art of dad jokes and found peace in strumming his guitar.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Hardy, his step-children: Shaun, Eric, David, and Emily Elligott, and his step-grandchildren: Adonijah, Elizabeth, Matthias, and Oliver Elligott. He is survived by his siblings Pat Potter and Pam Lusk. He is survived by his daughter Darcy Lomeli, son-in-law Marco Lomeli, and the apples of his eye, granddaughters Cosima and Desi Lomeli.
In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible contributions to support the Ron O’Keefe Memorial Kids’ Triathlon can be sent to South Lane School District, Attn: Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center, 1440 South 8th St. Cottage Grove, OR, 97424. Please note “Triathlon” in the memo/subject. A celebration of life was held on October 14, 2022 at Stacy’s Covered Bridge Restaurant in Cottage Grove.