Elena Martinez Keefe was a woman full of unmatched exuberance, kindness, and love. Her enthusiasm for life was palpable; she brought joy wherever she went.
She was the youngest of five children born on August 26, 1960, in Purépero, Michoacán, México. Her parents were Jesus Martinez and Clara Ortega de Martinez. Clara and Jesus nicknamed her "La Güera" because of her blonde hair. She grew up in Huntington Beach, California but throughout her life always returned to visit Purépero. She graduated from Huntington Beach High School, where she was infused with a love for sea and sunsets.
Family and faith were her life-long passions. Throughout her life, Elena was present at all the family's celebrations of special occasions. She never liked to miss one because, to her, family was everything. She simply was always there for her family, with unbridled care, and an abiding reverence for the memories of her lost loved ones.
She was her nieces' and nephews' friend, and often their babysitter because their parents worked. She helped to make sure they were well cared for, and although she was hardly older than they were and did not know how to cook, she would prepare her signature meal, peanut butter sandwiches. Elena leaves behind nieces and nephews whose fondest childhood memories are of their Tía Güera teaching them how to swim and dance to banda music.
She thrived at family gatherings and holiday celebrations, where her sense of humor was surpassed only by her kindness. With a Cadillac margarita in hand and hot sauce on her food, she loved to dance, inspiring others to imitate her zapateado and disco moves. Her love of music, especially mariachi, was transcending. She was the life of the party, and the warmth in the hearts of all those whom she loved. Elena would make friends everywhere she went, even with those who cheered for the opposite team at the pub. She was a fan of Aaron Rogers and Dennis Eckersley, and she always supported her husband's teams with flair.
On April 26, 2009, she married Matt Keefe, the love of her life. Elena's adventures with him were full of the wonders of travel: winding road trips along the bluffs of the Mississippi River, sun-soaked beaches of California, sunset-colored fall leaves, dazzling snow of Minnesota farmlands, the glaciers of Alaska, sparkling lights of casinos, the turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea, Elena's hometown of Purépero, the multi-generational Keefe farm, and so many other feasts for the senses and soul. She loved to bask in the golden glow of sunflowers, giggle at penguins, watch the birds in her backyard, and admire deer in the wild.
Elena was a brilliantly tech savvy executive administrative assistant and happily retired at the age of 55. Consistent with her unparalleled work ethic, she maintained her real estate license after retirement, which she had for 25 years. She was a proud member of the Catholic Daughters of America, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. She always lent her hand to others, in helping with translation, employment referrals, or completing paperwork. She enjoyed life, was happy, and had a contagious laughter which imparted her happiness into all whose path she crossed.
Elena passed away on January 30, 2021. Her enduring legacy is how she lived her life, with an amazingly giving and selfless heart. She is survived by her adoring husband Matt Keefe, her step-children (Taylor, Garrett, Kristina, and Brendan), grandchildren (Ayla, Emma, Callahan, and Kailo), and mother-in-law, Pauline Keefe, and her sisters Irma Navarro and Mari Narez.
A Funeral Mass for Helen will be 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at St. Simon & St. Jude Catholic Church in Huntington Beach. Led by Father Mike Rizzo. Visitation will be at the church from 9:30 until time of services. Burial will follow mass at Good Shepherd Cemetery.
Please share your memories of Helen and view her video tribute at www.hofffuneral.com. In lieu of flowers, please think of a beautiful house plant memorial you can take home after the mass to remember Helen. A live stream of the mass will be available at St. Simon & St. Jude's You Tube channel on their website. https://ssj.org/