We have a wealth of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Families elect to call upon us because our long history lets them know that we treat people with respect. We are profession in our approach, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
When we meet with a family, our primary goal is to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we can select the services and products which are most fitting for your loved one. We will be your source for creative ideas and can make meaningful suggestions.
Together, we'll design a funeral service or memorial that suits your family now, as well as in the future. Families who select Bradford-O’Keefe have expressed peace-of-mind in knowing that they have made a wise choice in doing their best to honor their loved one.
The O’Keefe family, through its business operations, has been serving Mississippi Gulf Coast families since 1865 and over six generations. In the mid-1800s, Edward O’Keefe was qualified and conducted undertaker services as a sideline to the operation of a livery stable.
It was a natural evolvement that being a livery stable owner also enabled him to transport the coffin to the burial site. It’s interesting to note that at this time, the coffin was built overnight to fit the body of the deceased for the funeral the following day and many funeral homes evolved out of cabinet shops as well.
Our Early Years
Edward and Mary O’Keefe were active in the community of Ocean Springs. Mary ran a boarding house, a large two story building with wide verandas. They had two children, Jeremiah Joseph I, and a daughter who died at the age of fifteen.
Jeremiah Joseph I graduated from St. Stanislaus Commercial College, Bay St. Louis in 1870 and returned to work in the family business. In 1887, he met and married Alice Cahill. Jeremiah and Alice had five children. The third son, Jeremiah Joseph II, nicknamed Ben, joined his father in the family business. When his father died a year later, Ben took over the business.
The Legacy Continues
In June of 1923, Ben O’Keefe moved his undertaking business to Biloxi, directly across the street from Nativity B.V.M. Catholic Church. At this time, we were only serving families in the Biloxi and Ocean Springs areas. Yet, we’re proud to say the enterprise that had started as a sideline of the livery and drayage business had now become a fully independent business, responsive to the changes in social practices.
At this point in time, bodies originally prepared at the home of the deceased were removed to the funeral home for embalming and preparation for burial. Later, a chapel was added for the funeral services of those who did not wish to take the body to the church for funeral rites. And no longer were horses relied upon; a hearse and limousine were purchased for transportation to the cemetery.
Into the Middle Decades of the 20th Century
Ben and his wife, Theresa Slattery, had four children. The oldest son, Jeremiah Joseph III, known as Jerry, graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and joined his father in the funeral home business. In 1953, Jerry bought the O’Keefe family business from his father, who died the following year.
In 1957, Jerry purchased the Bradford Funeral Home Company. Three years later, the two companies merged forming the present Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home. Jerry later in 1960 built a location in Ocean Springs and named it for his father “J. Ben O’Keefe Mortuary.” Jerry and his late wife, Annette, were very active in Biloxi community affairs (in addition to raising a family of thirteen children). In fact, Jerry served as Mayor of Biloxi for eight years.
Setting Sights on the New Century
In 1989, the Lang family joined Bradford-O’Keefe, in Gulfport. Their beginning in funeral service dates back to 1884, when John H. Lang established an undertaking business in Pass Christian. John Lang’s grandson, A.W. “Buzzy” Lang, continued the family business, and also served as Mayor of Gulfport for four years.
In 1991, Jerry & Annette’s tenth child, Jeffrey H. O’Keefe, purchased Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home from his father. Today he and A.W. “Bubba” Lang III, along with a team of experienced professionals, continue the proud tradition of caring service established several generations ago.
Jerry O’Keefe and “Buzzy” Lang had continued to serve as Senior Consultants to the Company over the years.
Presently, Bradford-O’Keefe is comprised of six funeral home locations in Gulfport, Orange Grove, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and Vancleave.
Additionally, Bradford-O’Keefe owns and operates two cemeteries, D’Iberville Memorial Park, and Crestlawn Memorial Park.
In 1977, Bradford-O’Keefe established Mississippi’s first crematory in D’Iberville, as a response to the changing preferences of Coast Community residents.
Learn More about Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Homes (.pdf)
For Amateur or Professional Historians: Learn More about the O’Keefe Family (.pdf)