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Helen McKenna

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MC KENNA Helen Helen McKenna passed away May 24, 2009, at the age 95. She was the wife of the late Patrick. Helen was a woman of "true grit". In her youth, she had to pass up a scholarship to Pratt Institute in New York to work as a secretary to help sustain her family during the Depression. Within two years after she and Patrick McKenna were married in 1937, he quit his job at Detroit Gray Iron and went into the wood pattern business for himself. Helen managed the office and the finances. They worked as a team complementing each other in their strengths until Patrick's death in 1953. When his business that had been converted to defense work during World War II closed in 1946, they produced wood candy cane Christmas ornaments until Patrick could restart his business once again. His death from an auto accident came just as he had reestablished his contacts in the automotive field. Helen, at the age of 39, took over the business and with help of some of Patrick's friends in the industry made McKenna Industries a success. She smartly invested her profits and financially supported her parents who lived into their 90's. She also helped her children and grandchildren through tough times. Helen believed family comes first and that is the way she lived her life. She was a great socializer and an excellent ballroom dancer. Her impression of Marlene Dietrich singing "Falling in Love Again" at Ridgedale Players was a huge hit. She was a woman of courage and determination. She often said "laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone." That's "true grit". She was the loving mother of Michael D. and the late Patricia; dear grandmother of Patrick and Daniel Grant, Gael Giles, and Mick, Brian and Stephanie McKenna; great-grand-mother of Courtney and Meghan Gowan, Grant Giles and Mickey and Aisling McKenna. Family will receive friends at A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home, 32515 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak, MI, Thursday, May 28th, from 10 a.m. until funeral service at 1:00 p.m. Memorial tributes to . View obituary and share memories at www.DesmondFuneralHome.com

Published in Toledo Blade from May 26 to May 27, 2009
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