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John T. McKennan

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John T. McKennan
New Hartford
John T. McKennan, age 93, of New Hartford, passed away on Monday night, November 28th, 2011, peacefully, with family by his side. He served in three branches of the State and Local government. He was an attorney; he was a State Senator, Mayor of Utica, and State Supreme Court Justice. Judge McKennan was born on November 25th, 1918, son of the late John P. McKennan and Rena Dowd McKennan. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes School, Utica Free Academy, Scarborough Prep School, Syracuse University and Albany Law School. On May 7th, 1955, he married Marguerite Gallagher at St. Bernard Church in Waterville, NY. In his youth, he excelled as an athlete and was later inducted into the UFA Hall of Fame. He received athletic scholarships to Scarborough Prep School and Syracuse University. Following military service in WW II he was associated with the N.Y.C. Law Firm of Hawkins, Delafield and Longfellow. In 1947, he opened his own law office in Utica. In 1948, at the age of 29, he was elected to the New York State Senate. Following his term in the Senate, he was elected as Mayor of Utica in 1955 and served two terms. As mayor, he successfully worked to retain General Electric and attract Sperry Rand as major employers in the community. He also spearheaded the construction of the Utica Memorial Auditorium, Valley View Golf Club, and the first public swimming pool located in North Utica. He also convinced then Governor Harriman to budget for the North-South Arterial. In 1965, he was elected as Clerk of the New York State Assembly and later served as Counsel to the Speaker. In 1967, he was elected unanimously by delegates of all political parties as Secretary of the 1967 New York State Constitutional Convention. In 1982, Governor Carey nominated him to the State Supreme Court and with the support of Senator James Donovan, he was unanimously confirmed in the Senate. In 1988, he was appointed as a Judicial Hearing Officer by the Chief Administrative Judge of the State. The New York State Board of Regents appointed him to its review board for licensed professionals. In 1999, he was appointed as a Judicial Hearing Officer for the State Retirement System. His current and past memberships include the Oneida County Bar Association, Advisory Board of St. Elizabeth Hospital, President of the Oneida County Cancer Society, and the Yahnundasis Golf Club. He was a delegate to several state and national Democratic Party conventions and campaigned with President Harry Truman on the presidential train, the Magellan. He and his wife Marguerite enjoyed many winters in Vero Beach, FL, and traveled extensively in Europe. Judge McKennan was a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Church in New Hartford. He is survived by his beloved wife, Marguerite, the most important person in his life; son, Dr. John M. McKennan and his wife, Joanne, New Hartford; son, Timothy McKennan and his fiancee, Sandra Mullett and her son, Kyle Mullett, Syracuse; sister, Carol Burke, New Hartford; sister-in-law, Margaret McKennan, Carmichael, CA; grandchildren, Lauren McKennan, NYC, Ryan McKennan, New Hartford, and Marinn McKennan, Syracuse; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by son, Robert J. McKennan, in 1974, and by brother, Robert J. McKennan, in 2008. Calling hours will be held at the Dimbleby, Friedel, Williams and Edmunds Funeral Home, 13 Oxford Rd., New Hartford, on Thursday, December 1st, from 4-7 p.m. Funeral service will be held at St. John the Evangelist Church on Friday, December 2nd, at 10:00. Interment will be at St. Bernards Cemetery in Waterville, NY. Please consider a donation in Johns memory to the . For online expression of sympathy, go to www.dfwefh.com.
Published in The Observer-Dispatch on Nov. 30, 2011
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