John Mckenna Obituary, Hamilton, Ontario, Dentist John Mckenna Has Died
- john Gibson
John Mckenna Obituary, Death – John Hugh McKenna made the most of his 84 years. He was a dentist, a sports fan, and a history and poetry buff. He was born in Ireland, but he considered himself to be a Canadian son as well, and he cherished both. He was nourished by laughter and affection; he didn’t need an invitation to dispute politics, hate golf, or quote Yeats.
He adored his patients as well as his employees. Patricia, his 53-year-old wife, his four children, Catherine, Sean (Katie MacGuire), Maureen (Lee Greenberg), and David, and his 11 grandchildren, Matt, Isabelle, Cormac, Hugh, Stuart, Kathleen, Eleanor, Maude, Nicola, Luke, and Nori, were his greatest loves. On August 28, 1938, John (and his twin, Tom) were born in Dublin. They were the youngest of six McKenna brothers, the others being Father Dermot SJ, Kieran, Gear3id, and Padraic (all of whom died). After Patrick McKenna retired from the Irish army, his father, an accountant, and mother, a teacher, built McKenna’s pub in Dublin. As children, John and his siblings spent many hours in the basement bottling Guinness.
John graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in dentistry in 1961. He later worked as a dentist in London, England, before leaving Ireland to pursue post-graduate dental education at the University of Toronto. He met Patricia (née Hopper), a nursing student at the University of Toronto. He was smitten, and she was spellbound. In 1969, they married. He considered himself to be the luckiest man in the planet to have met her. John and Pat raised their children in Hamilton, where he worked as a dentist for nearly 50 years. It would be his permanent home for the rest of his life.
John was a sports fanatic. At University College Dublin, he participated in both waterpolo and rugby. He was later named captain of the London Irish RFC. He had a poor reputation with the Toronto Irish Rugby Club and the Hamilton Hornets, yet he played for Canada against England in 1967 and won a cap. John had been a long-time squash player at the Hamilton Thistle Club and could often be heard complaining about his or his friends’ golf at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, where he had served as President and Captain.
He had been a devoted Hamilton fan. He has been on the boards of The Good Shepherd, Theatre Aquarius, and the Hamilton Philharmonic over the years. As a board member of the Ireland Fund of Canada, he also fought for peace and reconciliation in Ireland. His family and children were the center of his universe. He loved going on family vacations, especially to Ireland, and could often be seen in the summer throwing his grandchildren in the air in the family swimming pool. While he adored all of them, if one of his grandchildren was having a bad day, he would tell them that they were his favorite. While his death is heartbreaking, he will be remembered for his wonderful sense of humour, generous demeanor, quick wit, and charm.
Dr. Irwin Walker and the Juravinski Hospital Hematology Team deserve special recognition for the excellent care they provided. On Thursday, April 20, at 11 a.m., a Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 260 Herkimer St., Hamilton. There will be a reception following the Mass. The live stream of the Mass can be found at https://fweb.tv/99942. Donations in place of flowers can be donated to The Good Shepherd or the Juravinski Hospital.