By Tony Wilbert
NEW YORK (Sept. 17, 2008) - Atlanta's commercial real estate community is in mourning today.
The large-but-close-knit community lost one of its own this week. John O'Keefe, vice president of leasing at Jones Lang LaSalle, died Sunday after suffering a brain aneurysm last week. His funeral is today at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody.
In announcing his death, the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors said, "John was such a kind, wonderful person and a true leader within the real estate community. He was an active member of the Board and a tremendous support to our organization, as well as SIOR, NAIOP and CoreNet."
O'Keefe, 58, was well known in the Atlanta real estate community. Before joining Jones Lang LaSalle in 2007, he had very successful stints as a top landlord representative and marketing director at Opus South and Highwoods Properties. Along with Jim Coughlin, O'Keefe helped ensure that Royal 400 succeeded and that fledgling North Fulton emerged as a viable office submarket.
I got to know John shortly after taking over the commercial real estate beat at Atlanta Business Chronicle in the fall of 1996. As someone new to the industry, I had a huge learning curve, and John was incredibly helpful and gracious as I stumbled along. We had breakfast often at the usual Buckhead and Midtown restaurants frequented by Atlanta's real estate industry. John liked the media, and he always was in the know. He would smile wryly when telling me something I had not heard. He was a great source, and his knowledge of what was happening helped him beat his competition for deals.
When he left Opus for Highwoods, John quickly began working on deals to fill buildings such as Tradeport Place IV. Inevitably, John would deflect any credit and praise landlords he worked with at Highwoods including John Tugman and John Grimsley.
I last saw O'Keefe at the CoreNet Global holiday party in late 2007. He worked the room, and of course, gave me some scoop. Always the deal-maker, he followed up with me to see whether Edelman would be interested in moving to a building he represented on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta.
In an ideal world, John could have made a deal for more time on Earth and with his wife Connie. We'll miss you, John.
Here's the death notice that appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
John T. O'Keefe, 58, died September 14, 2008. He was the husband of Constance J. O'Keefe. Born in Philadelphia February 20, 1950, he was the son of Mary P. (Kelly) O'Keefe and John T. O'Keefe of Philadelphia, PA. John was employed by Jones Lang LaSalle as Vice President Leasing. He is a member of All Saints Catholic Church, NAIOP, Commercial Board of REALTORS®, CoreNet, and founder and board member of Meet At. In addition to his parents and his wife of 32 years, he is survived by his brother, Rich O'Keefe of West Chester, PA and four sisters Joanne Roundy of Trinidad, CO, Carol O'Keefe of Phoenix, AZ, Marilyn Weimer of Boise, ID, and Patty O'Keefe of Farmington, CT. John will be missed by his family, friends and fly fishing buddies.
John's life will be celebrated at an 11 am Mass on Wednesday, September 17th at All Saints Catholic Church, 2443 Mt. Vernon Road, Dunwoody GA with Monsignor Donald Kiernan officiating. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Peachtree Christian Church, 1580 Peachtree RD NW, Atlanta, GA in memory of John T. O'Keefe, to feed the homeless. Cremation Society of the South is in charge of arrangements (770) 420-5557.