By Amy Cleary | for The Pearl | Vol. 7 No. 1 (January 16, 2019)
Some Mount Pearl residents said goodbye to a popular friend recently.
Leo McKenna was well known in the volunteer sector in Mount Pearl. He passed away suddenly earlier this month at the age of 79.
“I’ve known Leo personally for over 30 years because years ago because we use to play softball together,” said McKenna’s friend. Peter Furlong.
Furlong described McKenna as a tall, thin, handsome man, who was always well dressed. “I don't think I ever saw him in a pair of jeans,” said Furlong.
Mckenna was originally from Badger and moved to St. John’s to work at Bowring’s on Water Street. He then moved to K-Mart and worked in the lady’s department as a department manager.
“He was a real ladies’ man, and he turned a lot of heads,” said Furlong. “Then he caught the eye of his wife (Marina).”
Not long after that, McKenna married Marina. They celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on Boxing Day.
The Mckenna family and Furlong’s family also attended church together regularly.
“Leo and his wife used to sit behind me and my wife and myself every Saturday at Mass,” said Furlong. “We'd get to Mass early and the first 15 minutes we'd be chatting.”
The parish community is especially sad at having lost McKenna over the holiday season.
“Leo is really going to be missed. He was a big part of the community,” said Furlong.
McKenna was the financial secretary for the Knights of Columbus in Mount Pearl. He took that position in 2010 when he first became a member of the group, according to Furlong.
“Shortly after he joined, the financial secretary at the time passed away. So, Leo was asked to be taken on, and he took on this massive job with the Knights,” said Furlong.
Furlong is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, and at the time he was the Grand Knight, while Mckenna was the financial secretary.
“If I was a CEO, then Leo was the business manager,” said Furlong. “When we were fundraising for the church, Leo was one of the fellows who would stay up all night and do a couple of roasts on a rotisserie barbecue. Then after the golf tournament, we would come back to the parish and have a big dinner. The dinner would be the roast beef that Leo had cooked.”
According to Furlong, Mckenna was someone special.
“When you saw Leo, you couldn't help but smile, because you knew you were in good company,” said Furlong.
Along with his wife Marina, McKenna leaves to mourn a son Harry, daughters Michelle and Sharon, their spouses, and grandchildren.