PORTLAND – Brendan Kehoe kept a diary of the last four months of his life on his blog, Zen.org.

In March, the former South China resident described his reaction to news he had leukemia.

“The world, and any concept of reality, kind of fell to a crawl. … I thought I was hallucinating,” wrote Kehoe, who worked in the software industry and in 1992 wrote one of the first mass-produced Internet user guides.

Kehoe’s mood was upbeat on July 11, despite news that his cancer was incurable.

“Right now, I feel fine, and will be trying to do what I enjoy, and be with those I love as much as we can make possible,” he wrote.

Kehoe, who grew up in Maine and lived part of the year in Islesboro, died eight days later, on July 19, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.

He was 40.

Kehoe immigrated to Maine from Ireland in the mid-1970s, when he was 5 years old. He came with his mother, who held dual American-Irish citizenship, and his older brother, Derry.

Kehoe’s father died in car crash in Ireland before he had a chance to join the family in the United States.

Kehoe’s mother, Alice, who lives in Augusta, called her son an adventurous kid who liked to build forts in the woods in China, and jump rocks with his bike. Kehoe and his brother were also altar boys at St. Bridget’s Church in North Vassalboro.

Kehoe attended elementary school in China and Cony High School in Augusta, where he studied in the school’s program for gifted students.

His mother said he spent much of his teenage years tinkering with a Commodore 64 computer, one of the first personal computers to hit the market. Kehoe taught himself programming and networking on the machine, and communicated on electronic bulletin boards through a telephone modem.

“As a kid, he was too smart for his own good,” said Alice Kehoe.

One time, Kehoe programmed the Commodore to search for local bulletin boards by calling every phone number in China and South China.

“He fell asleep and it ran all night,” said Alice. “People’s telephones were ringing at all hours.”

Kehoe graduated from Cony in 1989 and started taking classes at Widener University in Pennsylvania.

He never graduated — the family had little money and Kehoe struggled to pay tuition.

But while at Widener, Kehoe wrote a book called “Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner’s Guide.”

Published in 1992, the book was later translated into a half-dozen languages and won awards from PC Magazine.

Kehoe took a job with a software company and moved to California.

He and his wife, Elana, later moved to Ireland, though they kept a home in Islesboro and returned during the summer.

The couple had two boys, Patrick and Eoin.

Kehoe received a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia in March.

Doctors decided in early July to stop chemotherapy treatment.

Nine days later, Kehoe’s wife updated her husband’s blog.

“My beautiful, smart, funny, geeky, blue-eyed, bearded, amazing husband died last night with me and two of his aunts holding him,” she wrote.


Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or:

[email protected]