...writer, academic, and a great voice for freedom...Dennis O'Keefe was one of a small group of British academics who worked in Poland in the years of martial law, lecturing in the "flying university" through which people, meeting in private homes and facing the possibility of arrest, could hear and take part in talks on philosophy, economics, and politics. In this, and through his books and journalism, Dennis was one of the courageous people supporting the emergence of a free Poland.
He died this week after some years spent in full-time hospice care following a serious accident. His courage and faith during these difficult years were deeply moving, as was the wonderful love of his family which surrounded him.
Dennis'writing was witty, well-researched, and challening. He had no time for cliches and trite observations. Nor was he simply a commentator: his was always the voice of a teacher rather than a journalist, and he worked for positive solutions to social problems, rather than simply analysing or proclaiming. And his sinccere Catholic faith gave a depth and warmth to his thinking at every point.
I will always cherish the memory of the conversations in the hospice years - he was not the sort of person who wanted to talk about himself, but the story of his work in Poland did emerge, and - always unselfish and open to new hope and fresh possibilities - he was keen to put me in contact with people there who were helpful in my own researches for a book on St John Paul.
May this good man rest in peace.