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Biography of Henry S. Keefe

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Henry S. Keefe, whose extensive and important operations in the field of real estate have won him prominence and success, is accounted one of the most progressive and enterprising young business men of Racine, his native city. He was born April 19, 1883, a son of John and Elizabeth (Budd) Keefe, the former a native of Vermont and the latter of New York. The former was a son of Mathew Keefe, a native of Ireland, who on leaving the Emerald isle crossed the Atlantic to the new world, residing for a time in Vermont, and then became one of the pioneer settlers of Racine of 1843. Here he engaged in the teaming business. John Keefe. his son, was but an infant when the family came to the west and in this city he learned and followed the machinist’s trade, remaining active in the business up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1897. He married a daughter of Captain Henry and Elizabeth Budd, who were natives of Ireland and who became early residents of Racine. The father was a captain on the Lakes in early life and commanded the Kate Kelly, of which he was part owner. Mrs. Keefe passed away ere the death of her husband, her demise occurring in 1896. They had seven children, namely: Mary, who belongs to an order of nuns of the Catholic Church; Henry S., of this review; Matthew, who is in the service of the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company; Timothy, in the employ of the Racine Rubber Company: Elizabeth, who died in infancy Jeannette, who is also a Catholic sister; and Margaret, at home.

In St. Patrick’s parochial school Henry S. Keefe mastered the elementary branches of learning and also attended the Washington ward school, subsequent to which time he pursued a. course in the Casterton Business College, from which he was graduated in 1901. He afterward attended the Marquette University for two years and there studied commercial law and economics. He was thus well trained for life’s practical and responsible duties. Upon his return home he was employed for a short time by the Rice Machinery Company and was afterward with the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company in the costs and purchasing department for eight years, his long connection with that corporation plainly indicating his capability and trustworthiness. He was afterward with the Standard Electric Company as purchasing agent and for a year and a half was identified with the McCrum-Howell Company. Later he took charge of their plant at Milwaukee and for a time was in charge of the plant of the same firm in Chicago. In 1913 he formed a partnership with Clarence A. McLaughlin, under the firm name of Keefe 3 McLaughlin, and established a real estate business. They have since operated successfully along that line and have built up a business of large and gratifying proportions. In February, 1915, they organized the Community Realty Company, of which Mr. Keefe is the secretary and treasurer with Mr. McLaughlin as the president and this company has erected a number of houses and flats for sale, the number having reached fifteen in 1915, with nine others in course of construction in 1916 and thus their business is attended with substantial success. They are meeting a need for moderate priced residences, which they build in attractive style of architecture with all of the latest conveniences and equipments. They also conduct an insurance and loan department and their patronage is most gratifying.

Mr. Keefe does not ally himself with any political party but maintains an independent course. He belongs to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, to the Knights of Columbus, of which he is grand knight, to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He is also a member of the Commercial Club and is much interested in all those plans which have for their object the development and benefit of the city, especially in the extension of its business relations. His own efforts are an element in the city’s improvement and as the architect of his own fortune he has built wisely and well.


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