Remembering Jo Keefe: 1977 – 2020

Image Credit: Alice Dryden

Image Description: The Doctor saves Jo from the clutches of the Master

Society member and former Treasurer Jo Keefe passed away last year. Here, she is remembered by her friend Alice Dryden

The first thing I spotted when I walked into Jo’s student bedroom at St Hugh’s was the still from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. stuck on her wall. That was when I knew I’d found a kindred spirit, and I didn’t have to be a lonely nerd any more.

It was our first day at university; she was studying Maths & Philosophy, I Literae Humaniores. We discovered DocSoc at the Freshers’ Fair together, and would walk together from the far north to whatever college was currently playing host to the society. This continued, on just about every termtime Monday night, for the next four years.

Jo was Membership Secretary for the society in 1997/8 andthen Treasurer in 1998/9 – I’m told her name still appeared on banking letters into the new millennium. Unlike the bank in question, she performed both roles with the same efficiency and thoroughness she brought to everything she did, whether that was collecting back issues of the TV Times to designing TARDIS and K-9 patterns in cross stitch. 

After her undergrad, Jo did her masters in operational research, going on to join the Civil Service. Here, she worked in a variety of areas, including cost system modelling and crime analysis. She also continued to be involved in societies, being the director of the Operational Research Society for a time in the 2000s.

However, this work never got in the way of her passions, and she was enthusiastically, unashamedly geeky with an interest in many fandoms, her most recent being for the BBC’s The Musketeers. Jo never tried to hide who she was or fit in with the crowd; achieving her lifelong ambition of owning a room to house her extensive and intricately planned LEGO collection.

Her sudden death in June 2020 was a shock to everyone who knew her. Her colleagues came together to raise £1,690 in her memory for Fairy Bricks, a charity that donates LEGO sets to children in hospitals and hospices. While their appeal may have closed, it would be great to push that total a little higher: www.fairybricks.org

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