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Doris McKenna

Obituary for Doris McKenna

October 10, 2020
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

Obituary

Doris McKenna, 1930-2020

Doris McKenna, 90, of Blue Bell, died October 10, 2020, after living with cancer for many years. She was so proud of her family and celebrated their joys and successes even as her own health declined. Doris kept her positive spirit and good humor to the very end.

Doris Ann Hill was born in 1930 in Englewood, NJ, the second child of David Baldwin Hill and Mary Grace McCormack. Growing up in Teaneck, NJ, she loved to visit cousins in Claryville, NY, and eventually working summer jobs in Manhattan.

Her parents saved diligently to be able to send her brother, Dave, to college; after he fought in World War II and the GI Bill paid for his education, Doris became the beneficiary of the funds so she could go to college herself. Finding herself at Albright College in Reading, PA, she studied home economics, was crowned May Queen, and met John McKenna.

She and John were married in 1952, settling first in Coatesville and then, for the next 38 years, in Plymouth Township, where they raised 5 children, became devoted parishioners at Epiphany of Our Lord Church, and built a home that was always filled with music and laughter. Doris worked as a teacher and later as a salesperson at Strawbridge and Clothier in the Plymouth Meeting Mall. She and John loved summer vacations in Sea Isle City with their children and grandchildren.

Just as they were embarking on retirement and making plans for travel and adventure, in 1992, John died. His loss was a great shock to the family, but Doris found it within herself to be the steady rock for her children and grandchildren even as she was mourning her beloved husband. Over time, she went on to start a new chapter of her own life built around her immediate and extended family, friends, and community. In John's absence, she took her role as head of the family incredibly seriously, gathering her loved ones for meals and conversation as often as she could.

In 2001, Doris found a companion for the next 14 years in John Thompson, a widower introduced by mutual friends. Until his death in 2015, Doris and John traveled and visited with friends, and attended innumerable sporting events, plays, and graduations for both of their grandchildren.

Doris was fortunate to find a community of people enjoying their later years at the retirement community of Normandy Farms Estates in Blue Bell. She stayed active in both politics and lighthearted endeavors, with likeminded friends in the Free Spirits, the Concerned Citizens, Rumikub and canasta groups, and various dinner groups, always making sure that new arrivals to the community felt welcome.

She faced tragedy again in 2016 with the death of her daughter Mary Kay Dionne. And again she served as the rock for her family, supporting her loved ones with wisdom and compassion even as she experienced her own grief.

Doris loved assembling the perfect outfit, she liked her beverages served incredibly hot, and she adored Penn State football.

She leaves behind her children Louann Moos (Chris) of Lansdale, Kevin McKenna (Mary) of Whitehall, Mich., Judy Pecharo (Bob) of Plymouth Meeting, and Christy Lightfoot (Carl) of Lansdale; son-in-law Jim Dionne of Lansdale; 13 grandchildren ranging from Pennsylvania to San Francisco to Singapore; 12 great-grandchildren; and numerous spouses and partners whom she always treated like her own. She is also survived by her brother, David Hill, Jr., of Albuquerque, NM.

Besides her husband and daughter, she was preceded in death by her daughter-in-law Bonnie (Beaver) McKenna of Muskegon, Mich.

Immediate family will gather to celebrate Mass in her memory at St. Helena Church in Blue Bell on October 20 at 10 am. Services will be held privately, but Doris' memorial Mass will be live streamed at www.sainthelena-centersquare.net.

Doris will be buried next to her husband and mother in Calvary Cemetery, Conshohocken.

Anyone moved to honor her memory can contribute to the John J. McKenna '50 Memorial Scholarship Fund at Albright College, established to help the education of students pursuing elementary or secondary education, by contacting the Development Office, Albright College, P.O. Box 15234, 19612-9952 or visiting www.albright.edu/givenow.

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Boyd-Horrox-Givnish Funeral Home, Inc.

200 West Germantown Pike
Norristown, PA 19401
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