Michael Thomas Keaveny, 94, of Arvada, passed away peacefully on February 12, 2021 surrounded by his wife and loved ones, succumbing to complications from pneumonia. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Keaveny (Callahan) and his children Eileen (Bob Courtemanche), Michael (Martha), James (Julie), Kathleen Harrison (Chris), Patricia, Julie Boyd (wife of son Robert); Julie Lohrentz (wife of son Thomas); 14 grandchildren: Brian, Jillian, Kevin, Katie, Nathan, Adam, Jeremy, Patrick, Jonathan, Keith, Megan, Austin, Ryan, Nicholas and one great grandchild Conor, as well as four step-children, Beth, Ed (Linda), Christine Griffin (Chuck), and Billy. Mike was preceded in death by his parents Austin and Beatrice Keaveny, his brother Austin, sister Helen Argentino, his first wife Irene and sons Robert & Thomas Keaveny.
Mike was born on May 20, 1926 in The Bronx, New York, the eldest of three kids born to hard-working Irish immigrants. His father, Austin, instilled the work ethic to study hard, minimize mistakes and strive to do your best. Growing up in The Bronx, he was active in many backyard and organized sports ranging from stickball, baseball, and handball, with having his greatest success come from playing quarterback on the school football team. Once he turned 18, Mike enlisted in the Navy serving on a destroyer escort in the South Pacific until the end of World War II, and stated that the invasion of Okinawa was one of the most memorable and significant events of his Navy service.
After the war, Mike enrolled in The University of Maryland and transferred and graduated from Fordham University in The Bronx. While at Fordham, and working full time for The New York Times, he met and quickly fell in love with Irene J. McGovern. It wasn't long before they married and he saw success working as a CPA at Peat Marwick in the city. Soon, they had four children and Mike's drive for adventure took them to leave New York in 1955 to move to Colorado, which he considered to be one of the best decisions of his life. They settled in the Thornton area where they made lifelong friendships with other young couples and families like themselves. He and Irene added three more children while Mike went into private practice as a CPA, as well as becoming a real estate broker. Mike and Irene moved between Denver and Colorado Springs and even Texas where three sons and one daughter lived for some time. He worked hard to provide for his family, enrolling all seven into Catholic school while Irene raised the kids and kept things in balance. Mike always stressed to them the importance of faith in God, a good work ethic, minimal mistakes and a drive to do their best.
Generosity was his trademark: Mike always kept envelopes with $5 in his car to give to people in need, saying “don’t judge, just give.” Mike never missed thanking everyone he interacted with from busboys, trash collectors, clerks, bus drivers, medical workers, hotel maids - he made everyone feel appreciated!
Mike's life values were guided by his priorities: God, Country, Family. Life wasn't easy for them at times but you might not have known it with Mike's optimistic outlook on everything and how much he enjoyed meeting people. His optimism endured through good times and bad...through his near death of kidney cancer in his mid-40's, the loss of Irene before their 50th anniversary, the early deaths of two sons and the grief that comes unique to each painful loss. Yet, his faith and the God-given optimism and love for others drove him to carry on another day.
Another day of great importance in Mike's life occurred in 2000 when he attended a church-sponsored event for a deacon who was celebrating his 25th anniversary where he met Pat Callahan, an Irish Catholic widow.....and the rapid romance between a widow and widower began! On St. Patrick's Day 2001, Pat and Mike married and remained together until his final day. Over the next 20 years, Pat coaxed Mike into expanding his travel horizons beyond Las Vegas, which they visited dozens of times. She talked him into two Caribbean cruises (that weren’t on a Navy ship!), and also whisked him to Switzerland, Rome, Cabo San Lucas and Toronto where, for the first time in his life, despite being a native New Yorker, he visited Niagara Falls and had a blast getting soaked on the Maid of the Mist!
Pat expanded his social network with her many friends, traveling to Grand Junction and Arizona to visit them. While Mike probably thought he was slowing down, she made certain he was not, and she truly enriched his last 20 years! Pat also has a strong Irish Catholic family and Mike came to enjoy them as much as his own family.
Their lives together were all about being with family, and staying active with their church, Spirit of Christ Catholic Community. Their love has been an inspirational, heart-warming lesson that proves that you can find joy after sadness, that you have more to learn, more to share with others, more to give and receive, and love others.
Mike has great pride for all of his children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He loved being a grandfather. In keeping with his youthful spirit, he told them “don’t call me grandpa, call me Michael T.” He taught some of his grandchildren to drive, and most important to him, hosted every one of them with a trip to Las Vegas to share with them his love of risk! It was a special moment for all of his grandkids. Mike tried not to intercede in their lives unless asked, and was always ready to share any advice or insight as needed. In these final years, he was so determined to open up and share what he learned from his mistakes or gains, eager to prepare them for when he would not be here. Any of the grandchildren would tell you he spoke to them as adults, didn't judge them for what they did or didn't do.
Mike’s favorite song was Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as he felt it captured his pride in living his life on his terms, even at the end. "Let the record show, I took the blows and did it my way."
In Mike's memory, because it is Lent and in lieu of flowers, a donation could be made to Spirit of Christ Catholic Community (www.spiritofchrist.org) or, think about how you might carry forth his spirit of generosity with others by sharing a smile, a joke, a story or gratitude for their service. Think about keeping some money in your pocket or car to give to someone in need….“don’t judge, just give.”
When times are better, we hope to celebrate Mike’s life with his family and friends. May we all live such a long and full life as our beloved Michael T!
Please share memories of Mike and condolences with his family by signing the online Tribute Wall above.