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O’Keefe service Saturday; expect traffic delays

Jerry O’Keefe of Biloxi holds a photograph in June 2007 showing him receiving medals for his exploits as a Marine pilot during World War II.
Jerry O’Keefe of Biloxi holds a photograph in June 2007 showing him receiving medals for his exploits as a Marine pilot during World War II. ttisbell@sunherald.com File

A former Biloxi mayor and community leader will be laid to rest Saturday, and his funeral procession will shut down the eastbound lanes of U.S. 90 from Biloxi to Ocean Springs.

Jerry O’Keefe, who served as the mayor from 1973 to 1981, died Tuesday at 93.

A funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. at Nativity BVM Cathedral in Biloxi. Visitation will begin at 9 a.m.

Biloxi police Major Jim Adamo said officers will be directing traffic for the funeral and the procession to Evergreen Cemetery in Ocean Springs.

“There are are couple of lots near Nativity BVM, but we’re going to use the parking garage at Merit Health as the primary source for parking during the service,” Adamo said.

Adamo said the cortege will move south on Caillavet Street in Biloxi, then east on U.S. 90 until it reaches Porter Avenue in Ocean Springs.

“We’re going to have a fire truck meet at the foot of the Biloxi Bay Bridge with a large American flag,” said O’Keefe’s son, Jeff O’Keefe. “The whole procession will be led by the Patriot Guard on their motorcycles with flags on them.”

He said the procession will be met by a flyover when it reaches the crest of the bridge.

“There’s going to be a four-plane flyover across Biloxi Bay and one of the planes will break off into the ‘Missing Man’ formation,” he said. “Once the procession gets into Ocean Springs, we will pause in front of (Bradford-O’Keefe) funeral home where the casket will be loaded into a horse-drawn carriage.”

“We will have the entire route shut down while the procession makes it way to the cemetery,” Adamo said. “This means part of South Caillavet Street and the eastbound lanes of Highway 90.”

As the carriage reaches the cemetery, a bagpiper and a gospel choir will be present for the burial, Jeff O’Keefe said.

“There will be full military honors at the interment,” he said.

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