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A good and honourable example for all

Learned in law

Barry O'Keefe has died. Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral at St Mary's Cathedral for the one time Supreme Court Judge, head of ICAC and of the Church's Truth Justice and Healing Council.


The Hon. Barry O'Keefe, eminent Australian jurist and leading Catholic layman. 

There were few spare seats at St Mary's Cathedral as Mr O’Keefe’s family, including Channel 7 presenter Andrew O’Keefe, friends and colleagues gathered for his elaborate funeral Mass.

Also among the mourners was Governor Marie Bashir, former NSW premier Nick Greiner, High Court Chief Justice Robert French and NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner.

Bishop Peter Comensoli paid tribute to a 'humble' man who he will always remember as the 'quietly spoken and always besuited Barry.'

'For Barry, marriage and family mattered, justice and dignity mattered, respect and service mattered, and beauty and goodness mattered,' he said.

'He should be an example for all who want to lead a good and honourable life.'

Mr O’Keefe held mayoral office in Mosman for a record 10 terms, from 1977-1983, 1985-1986 and 1987-1990 and was a councillor from 1968 to 1991.

A father of five and son of a furniture salesman, Mr O’Keefe was a former commissioner of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, a former Chief Judge of the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of NSW, chairman of Interpol’s International Group of Experts on Corruption and chairman of the International Anti-Corruption Conference.

Cardinal George Pell sent a message for Mr O’Keefe from Rome, which was read by Bishop Comensoli.

'Barry was a good friend who was a wise source of advice and a regular support,' Cardinal Pell wrote.

One of Mr O'Keefe's last public appearances was at North Sydney's Australian Catholic University campus, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate for his distinguished career and outstanding public service.

On April 22, Bishop Peter Comensoli presented Mr O'Keefe with a papal knighthood, the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Gregory the Great, at a bedside ceremony at St Vincent's Hospital.

Mr O’Keefe is the father of Channel 7 personality Andrew O’Keefe and the brother of late Australian rock star Johnny O’Keefe.

He is survived by his wife Janette, his children Philip, Vanessa, Roger, Andrew, and Sophie and seven grandchildren.

Read full article: Hundreds farewell former Mosman mayor and ICAC boss Barry O'Keefe at St Mary's Cathedral funeral (The Daily Telegraph)

Sydney stops to farewell papal knight, leading lawyer (The Catholic Weekly)

Former NSW Supreme Court judge Barry O'Keefe dies (ABC)

Brian Lucas: Remembering Barry O'Keefe (Eureka Street)

Catholic faith is ‘part and parcel of me’ (The Catholic Weekly)

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