Jerome Kehoe, Jr., 84, could fix most anything

Jerome (Jerry) Francis Kehoe, age 84, of Ridgefield, beloved husband, cherished father, and doting grandfather, died peacefully on Wednesday, May 21. During his final days, Jerry was surrounded by his family, including Lillian (Kozlik) Kehoe, his wife of 66 years. His family shares the news of his passing not with sorrow, but with deep respect and joy for the full and happy life that he lived.

Jerry was born in Brooklyn (Greenpoint), New York to the late Madeline (Burdian) and Jerome Francis Kehoe, Sr. He was educated in the New York City public education school system and attended Brooklyn Automotive.

Jerry was a genius with his hands and could fix almost anything — often without looking at a manual or a book. Jerry began work for the Fifth Avenue Coach Bus Company in November of 1948, which later became part of the New York City Transit Authority. He would remain with the New York Transit Authority until his retirement in 1985. During that time, he rose from the job of bus sweeper to foreman and, later, superintendent of instruction, where he taught air conditioning to mechanics.

Jerry and Lillian moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut in September 1958, where Jerry became active in town government — serving on Ridgefield’s jury selection committee and as the Chairman of the Democratic Town Committee. A lifelong Democrat, Jerry was extremely proud of his role on the committee that helped get Louis Fossi elected first selectman of Ridgefield in 1973, a Democrat in a staunchly Republican town. From 1967 to 1969, Jerry served on Ridgefield’s Zoning Board of Appeals. He was Justice of the Peace from 1966 to 1993. Jerry also served his country as a member of the National Guard.

Always a hard worker, Jerry held several other jobs in Connecticut and New York during his career years. He spent two years managing the school bus company in Ridgefield — working during the day in Ridgefield and then traveling to New York at night to continue his work as a mechanic for the New York Transit Authority.  He also worked at Barden Corp. in Danbury as a machine mechanic; sold automotive diagnostic equipment to area service stations and auto repair shops for Sun Electric; and worked for Young’s Feed as a service technician for several years.

After his retirement in 1985, Jerry worked as a voting-machine mechanic for the Ridgefield Registrar of Voters. Jerry’s experience in the New York Transit Authority also led Ridgefield to appoint him as their representative to the Housatonic Regional Transit (aka HART) Board of Directors in 1987.

Jerry and Lillian and their two children were original members of the Eight Lakes Community, and were active in the Eight Lakes Community Association. They began wintering in Florida in 1990, but always returned home to their beloved Ridgefield each spring. For the last two and a half years, they have been residents of Ridgefield Crossings.

One of Jerry’s favorite pastimes was spending long hours in the garage at his home on Scott Ridge Road, which doubled as his woodworking workshop. When Jerry wasn’t working on his next desk or dresser for a family member, he could often be found sitting on his back porch relaxing and smoking his pipe.

Jerry is survived by his loving, devoted wife and best friend, Lillian (Kozlik) Kehoe. He was a beloved father to son, Steven Kehoe, Sr. and his wife Jane of Cumming, Georgia, and to daughter, Kathleen (Kehoe) Santini and her husband Jay “Bugsy” of New Fairfield, CT. He leaves behind many devoted family members including: sister, Anne Marie Kehoe; nieces, Ginger (Kehoe) Agrapedes and Kelly Hughes; nephew, John Clohessy; brother-in-law, James Kozlik; nephews, James Kozlik and Martin Kozlik. Jerry was most proud of his five grandchildren: Steven Kehoe, Jr.; Marie (Kehoe) Kelly and her husband Chris; Maryellen (Kehoe) Girard and her husband Ryan; Kristin (Santini) Casasanta and her husband Marc; Dawn (Santini) Kornstein and her husband Mike; and eight great-grandchildren—many of whom were able to be with him in the days before he passed. Jerry is predeceased by his sister, Virginia (Kehoe) Eschbach and his niece, Tracey Clohessy.

The Kehoe family would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the very special and loving caregivers who cared for and doted on Jerry during his illness, in particular Sandy Tanner, Elia Batista, and Lisa Garamella. Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut provided immeasurable comfort to Jerry in his final days — many thanks to Joan Thorburn for her support and guidance. We would also like to extend our thanks to the staff at Ridgefield Crossings, who welcomed Jerry and Lillian with open arms and helped them settle into their new home during the last few years of Jerry’s life. Jerry will be missed by the wonderful friends he made there, including the caring staff who made him laugh and always treated him with great respect and love.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 10:15 a.m. in St. Mary Church, 55 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield. Interment will take place at the direction of the family. Friends will be received in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield, on Sunday, May 25, 2014 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Jerry’s honor may be made to Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut, Inc., 39 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury, Connecticut 06810.

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face, 

the rains fall soft upon your fields 

and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of His hand.