Dr. Paul Joseph McKenna, D.M.D., 93, of Longmeadow, MA, and Palm Beach, FL, entered eternal life on November 8, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. He had a great love of travel, skiing, tennis and the Red Sox and Patriots, but his greatest passions in life were his family, his orthodontic practice, and his faith. He was a loving and devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother-in-law, uncle, and cousin, but he was also an outstanding professional, leader, and friend to many. His lively sense of humor put many of his young patients at ease, and his infectious, boisterous laugh made him easy to pick out in a crowd.
He was born in Holyoke, MA, on July 3, 1926, to the late Paul J. and Catherine (McCormick) McKenna. While attending the Cranwell Preparatory School he was selected by the U.S. Navy for the V12 program, an accelerated program to train doctors and dentists during World War II, and sent to Tufts University.
Dad earned his college and dental school degrees at Tufts and then graduated with his certificate in orthodontics from the University of Pennsylvania. He returned to Springfield to restart his late father’s orthodontic practice but was recalled to active duty in 1950 by the Navy and was stationed first in Newport, RI, and then in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Upon finishing his commitment to the Navy, he returned to Springfield, married the love of his life, Nancy, and started his family and his practice. To date, his legacy and that of his father lives on with McKenna Orthodontics existing in the Pioneer Valley and beyond for over 100 years.
He was a member and held leadership positions in professional organizations and societies such as the American Dental Society, the Massachusetts Dental Society, the Valley District Dental Society, the American Association of Orthodontists, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Board of Overseers, Northeastern Society of Orthodontics, Massachusetts Association of Orthodontics and the American College of Dentists. In 1971 he was honored by the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, MA in recognition of more than 50 years of care that he and his father had delivered to the children of the school.
He was heavily involved in local businesses, organizations and societies, such as Western Bank & Trust (founder and member of the Board of Directors), StageWest (as both a founder, president, and member of the Board of Directors), Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, MA (Board of Trustees), the Pioneer Valley United Fund (Campaign Chairman in 1971), the Pioneer Valley Red Cross and the Rotary Club of Springfield (Paul Harris Award Honoree). He was a member of the building committee for the Greenwood Park School Building Committee in Longmeadow, MA.
He was a member of the Colony Club of Springfield (where he also served on the Board of Directors), the Century Club of Springfield, the Society of William Rice of the Springfield Museums, the Longmeadow Field Club, the Beach Club of Palm Beach, FL, and the Nantucket Yacht Club.
He was a lifetime communicant of St. Mary’s Church in Longmeadow, where he served as an altar boy in his youth and then as a lector and member of the Parish Council.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, Nancy (Collins) McKenna of Longmeadow and Palm Beach, FL; five devoted children, Dr. Paul J. McKenna and his wife Karen of Simsbury, CT, Timothy G. McKenna and his wife Mary Ellen of Longmeadow, Nancy M. Nichols and her husband Jay of Palm Beach, FL, Dr. Stephen W. McKenna and his wife Ellen of Longmeadow, and Robert D. McKenna of Birmingham, AL; his sister, Catherine Wooters of New Canaan, CT; two brothers: Dr. David J. McKenna and his wife Barbara of Indian River Shores, FL, and John C. McKenna and his wife Nancy Jo of Palm City, FL; his sister-in-law, Rita M. McKenna of West Hartford, CT; ten cherished grandchildren: Paul, Bryant, Alexandra, and Emily McKenna, Catherine McKenna, Jake and Sarah Nichols, and Stephen, Katie, and Caroline McKenna; and three great-grandchildren: Paul, Connor, and Rose McKenna. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brother, George C. of West Hartford and a granddaughter, Molly.
A mass of Christian burial will be held on Friday, November 15, 2019 at 10 a.m. in St. Mary’s Church. 519 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. A private burial will follow. Family and friends will gather and remember Dr. McKenna on Thursday, November 14, 2019, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Byron Keenan funeral home, 1858 Allen Street, Springfield, Mass. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Tufts University School of Dentistry, St Mary’s Church in Longmeadow, Massachusetts and to the new Longmeadow Adult Community Center Fund, Inc. in Longmeadow, MA. For additional information please visit www.byronkeenan.com
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Tufts University School of Dentistry
1 Kneeland Street, Boston MA 02111
St. Mary's Church of Longmeadow
519 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow MA 01106
Longmeadow Adult Community Center Fund, Inc.
P.O. Box 60612, Longmeadow MA 01116