John D. McKenna
1954 - 2021
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John D. McKenna, 67, of Hamilton, passed away Monday, June 21, 2021, at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. Born in Philadelphia, he was a long time Hamilton area resident. John was a graduate of West Virginia Institute of Technology and worked for the Falls Township Police Department for many years. He later worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville. His passion for training and coaching led him to be active with many community associations including as the Moderator for the Diocese of Trenton Catholic Athletes for Christ and as a member of the Board of Directors for the National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA). He also was a trainer for the Trenton Fire Department.


Many of Coach McKenna’s achievements were honored over the years. In 2002 he was named as one of the AFLAC National Assistant Coaches of the year and was inducted into many halls of fame including the NHSSCA, the NJ Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2004), Delaware Valley Chapter of National Football Hall of Fame (2010), the Sports Faith International Hall of Fame (2015), and Notre Dame High School Hall of Fame (2017).


John was an active member of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Allentown. He was devoted to his church, community, family, and especially to Charyl, his wife and the love of his life since his teenage years.


Predeceased by his parents, J. Donald and Lois McKenna; John is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Charyl McKenna; his four children, Heather Homa and her husband Matt, Kelly Darcey, C.J. McKenna and his fiancée Amanda Placko, and Lindsey Diamond and her husband Matt. John was a loving “BopBop” to his nine grandchildren, Maggie, Abby, and Emma Homa, Cassidy, McKenna, and Logan Darcey, Lucas McKenna, and Charlotte, and Jackson Diamond. John is also survived by his sister, Barbara Butikis; his large extended Notre Dame Family, and his many friends.


Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 12:30pm on Friday, June 25th at St. John the Baptist RC Church, 1282 Yardville-Allentown Rd., Allentown. A viewing will be held Friday from 9:30am until the time of Mass at the Church. Interment will follow in the parish cemetery.


In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation in John’s name to the Diocese of Trenton – Catholic Athletes for Christ at Diocese of Trenton -CAC, 701 Lawrenceville Rd., Trenton, NJ 08648.


Arrangements under the direction of Peppler Funeral Home, Allentown.


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Peppler Funeral Home - Allentown on Jun. 22, 2021.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
JUN
25
Viewing
09:30 - 12:30 PM
JUN
25
Mass of Christian Burial
12:30 PM
JUN
25
Interment
parish cemetery
Memories & Condolences
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48 entries
July 1, 2021
Charyl: So sorry to hear of your loss. Very fond memories of you and John from high school. Will never forget John teaching me to drive in his big green car.....Condolences to all. Linda Zehner Savage
Linda Savage
Classmate
June 26, 2021
I will forever be grateful for Coach McKenna’s support of our family, he truly impacted our lives in a positive way. He LIVED his faith every day and was a remarkable example for us all. May he Rest In Peace and may his family receive great strength and comfort from above. Praying for you all.
Siobhan (Lezynski) Sarb
Student
June 25, 2021
Was sorry to hear about Coach McKenna's passing. He seemed like a very nice man when my son was a student at Notre Dame. May he Rest In Peace. Condolences to the family. Mary Brecko
Mary Brecko
Acquaintance
June 25, 2021
I’ll be forever grateful for his impact on our family! ❤ He LIVED his faith, day in and day out, being such a remarkable example for so many. Rest In Peace and I pray that the McKenna family is given strength and comfort from above
Siobhan Lezynski Sarb
June 25, 2021
I’ll be forever grateful for his impact on our family! ❤ He LIVED his faith, day in and day out, being such a remarkable example for so many. Rest In Peace and I pray that the McKenna family is given strength and comfort from above
Siobhan Lezynski Sarb
June 25, 2021
Thank you coach for all of your service. You helped shape the lives of so many in our community.
Sending my most sincere condolences to the family.
Marquis McEwen
Student
June 25, 2021
Rest In Peace Coach McKenna. May God continue to watch over and Bless your family during their time of sadness. May the happy memories of their time with you help them remember you are always with them.
Milazzo Family
Friend
June 25, 2021
Coach McKenna was an inspiration who embodied the Notre Dame spirit and imparted it to all he met. He was a wonderful role model in many ways, including in both faith and athletics, and he will always be remembered for his positive impact on our athletes. May he rest in peace.
Terri and George Walter
Acquaintance
June 25, 2021
Coach,
I don’t even know where to start. With out your guidance I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I am grateful that I had a chance to share that with you a few years ago.

Beyond teaching me how to be an athlete, you showed me how to be a man.

The lessons I learned from you have never left me. They have only become more relevant the older I get. I think about you often and ask myself, “What would coach do about.”. As a teacher and coach myself, I promise to continue that legacy you left within me.

Thanks for always giving us 110%. Thanks for the memories we shared on and off the field. Thanks for treating me like family no matter how long it had been.
Thanks for ALWAYS having my back.

Love you always,

Guido


Mike Guido
Student
June 25, 2021
To me, Coach McKenna was more than a father-figure, friend, mentor, teacher, and coach. He was an inspiration. Coach and his amazing family opened their arms and their hearts, accepted me as a son, and helped shape me into the person I am. His passing creates an unfillable void in my life and robs us all of more moments with a truly incredible man. And though I am angry and heartbroken, I owe it to him to carry on his legacy by trying to live the values he was so passionate about; to be selfless, compassionate, empathetic, and kind.

Until we meet again Coach, know that I love you.
Andy Larkin
Friend
June 25, 2021
When we close eye our eyes leaving this world we begin a new in the next. May peace be upon your soul Coach McKenna.
Reginald Paramoure
Friend
June 25, 2021
Rest In Peace coach McKenna and thank you for everything you have taught me and helped me to see in life. You will never be forgotten.
Rachel Kaniper
Student
June 25, 2021
Though I didnt know him well, I will always carry the one message that made an impact on my life: "Strong mind, strong body, strong faith equals a strong life..."
Christian Olla
Coworker
June 25, 2021
I am so sorry for your loss. Coach McKenna has touched the lives of many including my own. He taught me so many life lessons during my time at Notre Dame and on Kairos that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Heaven has gained an amazing angel. The McKenna family is in my heart and prayers during this tough time.
Rachel Kaniper
Student
June 25, 2021
SFC CJ McKenna and Family, We are so very sorry for the loss of your father. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. With Sincere Sympathy,
McNamara Family
June 25, 2021
Prayers and condolences to the entire, McKenna family. John had a tremendous impact on me and the rest of the S&C community. Truly one of a kind. I know that he now watching over us all.
Deeply saddened to hear we lost Coach John McKenna. John’s impact in our community is unmatched and he will be incredibly missed.
@rich_gray_ and I just had a hour long talk sharing story after story without even touching the tip of the iceberg.
If you want to shed a tear watch the episode of Beyond The Chalk that we did with him a few years back. Truly one of a kind.
He once gave me a Irish Nation hat and it has been in my truck every day since. Thanks Coach for the impact you have had on me and so many others. Love and Prayer to Cheryl and his family. Thanks for sharing him with us.
Ron McKeefery
Friend
June 25, 2021
Written in the Stars by Teleflora
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Reggie Paramoure
June 25, 2021
I am so sorry for your loss. Coach McKenna was a great man and I will always remember what he taught me and his profound faith. He will be missed.
Nick Cramer
Nick Cramer
Student
June 25, 2021
So sorry to hear about Coach McKenna's passing. The McKenna family is in our thoughts and prayers. With sincere sympathy,
Debra & Tim Dargan
Acquaintance
June 25, 2021
Dear Charyl and family,
John was such a beautiful person on the inside and out. Back in high school he was friendly and kind to everyone. In the hallways you would always seeing him laughing and joking around with his football buddies. He had such a warm and kind heart. It was no surprise that he would meet the love of his life and go on to marry Charyl and raise such a wonderful family. We will always have such great memories of him to cherish forever. You are in my prayers. God bless you now and always.
Diana Hibbs
Friend
June 24, 2021
Coach McKenna taught me everything I know about strength training and any time I am at the gym I am reminded of him and the foundations he provided. I think of him often and fondly, and was so sorry to hear of his passing. I continued to visit the weight room for years after graduating ND and he always welcomed me back and provided guidance and encouragement. The world has lost a great man and I offer my deepest condolences to your family. May the road rise to meet you Coach.
Marie Pryor
Student
June 24, 2021
Coach,

You taught me that who you are off the field is more important than who you are on it. Your lessons have shaped the man that I am today and I can never thank you enough. My only solace is that I was able to thank you in person the last time I saw you.
Ryan Wiese
Student
June 24, 2021
Coach McKenna taught me everything I know about strength training and any time I am at the gym I am reminded of him and the foundations he provided. I think of him often and fondly, and was so sorry to hear of his passing. I continued to visit the weight room for years after graduating ND and he always welcomed me back and provided guidance and encouragement. The world has lost a great man and I offer my deepest condolences to your family. May the road rise to meet you Coach.
Marie Pryor
Student
June 24, 2021
Polar Bear plunging will never be the same without coach McKenna. So happy to have been included as a small part of your very large extended family. My heart aches. Love to all the McKennas.
Suellen Adezio
Friend
June 24, 2021
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Charles Funk
June 24, 2021
The memories I hold with you will be forever cherished. You helped me grow into the person and athlete I am today. Thank you for being by my side through all my ups and downs. Also thank you for being the best grandfather and training me to be stronger. I love you sooo much and will love you so much. God has gained another amazing angel. Fly high Bop Bop
Maggie Homa
Family
June 24, 2021
Charyl and kids,
I know that it is perceived that John lost his battle for life. Yet, I hold to the belief that John will live forever in his example. John lived his faith and to the fullest, he was instrumental in helping so many that were less fortunate. Is that not what Jesus wants from all his children? As he was approaching his last week here as an earthly vessel of God's, he gave me a call wishing me luck and good health. He encouraged me to stay strong and have faith in God, in his time of need he was reaching out to help me. John, you are my brother and I look forward to seeing you again in heaven with your grin stretching from ear to ear. I will miss you and love you!
Oh Charyl, John didn't lose the battle, he won and will continue to show that winning faith through others. I am honored to call John McKenna my friend.
Charyl, Donna and I are here for you in any manner, please don't hesitate to ask. You and the family are in our prayers.
Greg Schafer
Friend
June 23, 2021
NDHD Varsity Football Mourn Our Loss
Rest in Peace Coach
Peter Felix Lieggi
June 23, 2021
Dear McKenna's and Notre Dame Family,

Deepest sympathy, I didn't really know him, but I know a good coach of Chappy Moore, when I see one.
I watched his show, seeing people who reminded me of me at Notre Dame. From His Holiness, to Coach Drulis, to Ms Wargo's daughter, he embodied what Notre Dame is about. A Colonial Valley Conference coach was something I was in 1979, I wish I had stayed to get to know him. Sometimes, you cannot come home all the time, especially when you have no kids, but a niece going as a student, but there's a void now at NDHS, room 3,
there will never be another dedicated Irish Warrior like Coach John McKenna.

Pete Lieggi
NDHS Class '79
Varsity Track and Football, #63
Peter Felix Lieggi
June 23, 2021
We will have our reunion in Heaven ,,,to be continued Love Barbara McKenna Butikis
Barbara McKenna-Butikis
Sister
June 23, 2021
Strong Mind + Strong Body + Strong Faith = Strong Life
There is no person I know who more so lived out his life motto and did everything in his power to impart it upon others than Coach McKenna. I was extremely fortunate to share a close enough relationship with Coach to the point where he referred to me as one of his sons. The relationship we shared was one through which I gained an abundance of strength, love, and wisdom physically, socially, and most important, spiritually. Everyone knows the impact that Coach made on student-athletes at Notre Dame Catholic High School inside the weight room, but what has always stood out to me is the influence that he had developing young men and women to be extraordinary disciples of Christ.
I cannot think of a person who I have come across who has maximized his platform as much as Coach McKenna. His fiery faith and his passion for Notre Dame High School led him to spearhead so many different means by which his student-athletes could have a positive impact on others and in turn, those means ignited sparks in the faith journeys of so many; mine being one of them. I will always remember the constant outpourings of support and the opportunities that Coach McKenna granted me to use my platform to deepen my faith and that of others. He constantly motivated me to pursue my dreams and not to stop until I captured them. He was instrumental in getting me to where I am today and I am so blessed to have had such a special bond with him.
To the man who lived in an Old School fashion, to the man who taught me that no one is too cool to love and respect all their neighbors, to the man with a heart of gold, to the man whose footsteps are worth following, to the man who led me to never want to look at a kettle bell again after high school, and to the man who is now on his Red Dirt Road up in Heaven, thank you for everything. YOU are why it is always a great day to be Irish. Love you Coach.
Xavier Lezynski
Friend
June 23, 2021
Love you coach! Thanks for showing me what it takes to be a great coach. It was amazing playing for you and coaching with you. Thanks for pushing me so hard. So many more words to say but thank you and much love to ya!
Erik Trost
Friend
June 23, 2021
He will shine brightly in heaven
Nurse Jill Gordon
Coworker
June 23, 2021
Coach always made being a good and faithful Christian look like an excellent option! Thanks for your example of love and service. We will miss you.
Catherine Sewnig
Coworker
June 23, 2021
I admire how John made a point to know (and love) each person uniquely for who they are, connecting from his heart. His passion for full well-being impacted and remains in many who knew him. I treasure his friendship, wisdom, faith and our shared love of country music.
Thanks, John. We will miss you dearly.
Janine Corgan
Friend
June 23, 2021
Sincere condolences to the McKenna and Notre Dame Families.
John touched the lives of so many. He will be missed by all.
Prayers and Hugs ,
Colleen Hancock
Class of 1970
Colleen Buckley Hancock
Friend
June 23, 2021
The students and the Notre Dame community will miss John and his challenging words to live a better life and not to accept average. May God his family and friends with this lost and heavens gain.
George Reither
Coworker
June 23, 2021
Coach was a kind and generous man. I so enjoyed our conversations across a broad range of subjects .He was a model to be emulated. I will miss him.
Jerry Middlemiss
Friend
June 23, 2021
Dear McKenna Family, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. The memories brought back of St. Joes Football we’re some of my fondest. The best was when he drove me to my senior prom. Thoughts and prayers to the whole family.
Kimberly Hartman - Georgevich
Friend
June 23, 2021
You were an inspiration to so many young people and adults as well. You will be missed by the love of your life, Charyl, your children and those who called you "Bop-pop". We will cherish our memories from the numerous dinners, laughs and tears.
Tom and Barb Hoglen
Friend
June 23, 2021
I am so sorry to hear this news. So many high school football memories and after. My heart goes out to all of you and hugs to him.
❤ Rit
Kelly Applebaum (Ritter)
June 22, 2021
Dear McKenna Family,Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Mr. McKenna was an amazing person who touched the life of everyone he met! He was one of the best coaches and teachers we had and we will miss him dearly!
Joanna, Nickie, Chris Papadopoulos
Student
June 22, 2021
Dear Kelly and family,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Marilyn and Mary Kate Ward
Marilyn Ward
Coworker
June 22, 2021
Sending lots of love to Aunt Charyl, Heather, Kelly, CJ, Lindsay and families ❤
Krista Arndt
June 22, 2021
Coach McKENNA remains a LEGEND in Central NJ for his passion for inspiring everyone he touched to be the best they can be! My deepest sympathies to Coach’s family & friends for their loss of this GREAT, GREAT MAN!
RIP COACH!
Jim McKenna
Friend
June 22, 2021
So sorry for the loss of Big John. Him and my father had worked together for years on the Falls Township Pilice Department as well as I was friends with his kids. My heart goes out to the entire McKenna family as well as my condolences. Like his son CJ had stated it’s not goodbye it’s see you soon. May the all time greatest coach Rest In Peace ☮ ❤
Dave Clark
Friend
June 22, 2021
So sorry to hear this gentle giant died. My prayers are with you and yours.
Steve Levin
Friend
June 22, 2021
John was a cornerstone of Notre Dame high school. He made such a positive difference in the lives of so many. His leadership and commitment to developing student’s strong body, minds and FAITH made him a super special person. His spirit will live on in so many and I know I have been very fortunate to have known him. Dave McWilliam
David McWilliam
Friend
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