December 4, 2014 - Father William Keally Skeehan, or “Father Bill” as he was familiarly known, passed away early Saturday morning Nov. 29, 2014 just nine days before his 89th birthday. His Funeral Mass was held on Dec. 4, 2014 at Christ the King Church in Tulsa. Father Bill was born on Dec. 8, 1925 in Forest Hills, N.Y. to Eva Mary Keally and Edward Michael Skeehan and was the youngest of five children.
Members of St James Parish of Bartlesville and Church of the Resurrection (Tulsa) were with Father Bill around the clock during his time in hospice care at the Franciscan Villa.
Father Bill was a natural born leader from an early age: he was president of his high school class, president & founding charter member of his fraternity (ATO) at Tulsa University, and one of the co-founders of the Newman Center at the University of Tulsa. After receiving his B.A. degree in commercial art from the University of Tulsa in 1948, he worked as a freelance artist in Los Angeles and Tulsa before entering the St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colo.
Father Bill was ordained in 1960 and served pastorates at Sacred Heart Church in Oklahoma City, St. Joseph's Church in Norman, and the Church of the Resurrection in Tulsa, where he was founding pastor. Father Bill was transferred to the Church of St. James in Bartlesville in 1978 and was the pastor there until his retirement.
Father Bill served on boards of the Green Country Free Clinic, the Washington/Nowata Counties Elder-Care In-Home Services Program, and was the co-founder of Neighbor for Neighbor, a private anti-poverty movement in Tulsa. Father Bill was committed to social justice and received awards for his lifelong commitment to serving the poor and marginalized. He was also the author of two published books.
Father Bill was preceded in death by his brother Edward Michael (Bud) Skeehan who was killed during WWII, his brother John Charles (Jack) Skeehan formerly of Los Angeles, Cali., his sister Mary Margaret Minter formerly of Annapolis, Md. and his sister Jeanne Patricia (Pat) King formerly of Tulsa, Okla. He is survived by 24 nieces and nephews and 61 great nieces and nephews, as well as hundreds of parishioners whom he considered family.