Obituary for A. Veronica O'Keefe
A. Veronica O’Keefe
Veronica was born on June 17, 1921 in Allentown; she was the daughter of Joseph J. and A. Veronica (McFadden) O’Keefe.
After graduating from Allentown High School, Class of 1938, Veronica earned a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Cedar Crest College in 1941 (valedictorian), a master’s degree in chemistry from Lehigh University in 1942, and a law degree from Georgetown University in 1956, in only the second class that admitted women. She was admitted to practice before the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the US Supreme Court, and the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Veronica pursued a varied career. During World War II, she was employed by New Jersey Zinc Company as a technical writer and then by Consolidated Vultee as a material specialist. After the war, she worked for Western Electric Company as a chemist, returned to New Jersey Zinc as a research librarian, and then moved to Washington DC and worked for the American Chemical Society as a publication editor.
After graduation from Georgetown, with her technical background, Veronica elected to pursue a career in intellectual property law. She attained a position as a patent examiner with the US Patent and Trademark Office (remarkable for that time as the percent of women holding that position was less than one percent). She then became a specialist in patent examination applicable to chemical inventions. She was also employed for a year by the Patent Office to the White House as a member of the Wartime Clemency Board. During her legal career of more than 30 years, she was employed by Standard Oil of Ohio as a patent attorney for several years.
After returning to Allentown in the mid 80’s, Veronica was involved with the Institute of Learning in Retirement (ILR) for more than 12 years, was President of the Board, and Curriculum Co-Chair for several years during which the institute grew to more than 1000 members.
Veronica was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Patent Law Association, the Thomas Moore Society (Washington DC), John Carroll Society (Washington DC), and the local Torch Club. White living in Washington DC, she was a founding member of the Kennedy Center.
SURVIVORS: Veronica is survived by her brother, Joseph J. O’Keefe Jr. and his wife Nancy, of Bethlehem, and his three sons, Joseph J. O’Keefe III, Michael, and Sean.
She was preceded in death by her niece, Nancy.
SERVICES: A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10AM on Saturday, December 9, 2017. A viewing will be held from 9AM until the time of service, all at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church 501 Ridge Avenue, Allentown, PA.
CONTRIBUTIONS: In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in Veronica’s name to Cedar Crest College 100 College Drive
Allentown, PA 18104 or to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church WWW.WEBERFUNERALHOMES.COM