Linda L. McKenna
- Visitation: Memorial Visitation
Saturday, July 7th from 3:00 - 6:00 PM
- Location: Alexander-Tuthill Funeral Home
6447 Route 25A Wading River, New York
- Service Type: Remembrance Service
Saturday, July 7th at 5:00 PM during Visitation
- Interment: Private Cremation
Born: April 23, 1943
Died: June 26, 2012
McKENNA, Linda L., age 69 of Wading River, NY on June 26. Beloved wife of Richard. Loving mother of Michael and his wife Kim. Cherished grandmother of Hunter, Carson and Sky. Dear sister of Eloise (Hank) McFalls, Robin (Bill) Hockenberry and John (Phyllis) Uebelacker. Memorial visitation, Sat. July 7th 3-6 PM, Alexander-Tuthill Funeral Home, 6447 RT 25A, Wading River.
Linda was a caring, creative, gifted, talented, inspirational person…these are just a few of the words that describe her. She began her work as a social worker in Beaver County, Pa. as well as Suffolk County, N. Y. When her son Mike was born she became a full time mom, a role she relished throughout her life. When Mike was three Linda applied and got a teaching position at the Port Jefferson Montessori School and Mike went right along with her. Later the school moved to Stony Brook and became known as North Shore Montessori School. She helped shape the school in the early days and it has flourished ever since. Linda’s true love was her work with children. During her tenure at North Shore Montessori, from 1971 to 1998 she worked tirelessly to develop the Movement Program, a thirty minute morning period where children could explore their individuality and creativity. At the end of each year, the program culminated with a performance known as the “Movement Show which highlighted the children’s accomplishments.
The students she touched remember her as a powerful, inspirational force that encouraged them to tap into their native curiosity and creativity. Linda’s infectious enthusiasm inspired children to try new things without fear of failure or being judged. Her movement class was a safe place for joyous celebration, experimentation and sharing. Each group of children was greeted with a huge smile that radiated Linda’s warmth. The children’s eyes would shine with anticipation as they ran through the doors to view the magnificent climbing structures she built and the wonderful activities that lay ahead.
Linda worked tirelessly to keep the movement program fresh and new. She could be seen lugging heavy balance beams or apparatus up and down from the attic so that the children would have new and creative ways to challenge themselves to reach higher levels of physical development. Linda was always adept at challenging children while ensuring they would build self esteem and not get too frustrated. Students learned roller skating, balance, dance, and sports while developing cooperation skills, kindness and empathy. Linda ensured that safety and manners were emphasized in each lesson. She would theatrically and gracefully demonstrate each activity melting away any anxiety a child would have about trying something new. Squeals of delight were heard as they were told they were ok to go to Movement Class. When she reached her landmark anniversary, the school, parents, and the board awarded her a vacation to Holland to thank her for her years of exemplary service. Her legacy has rippled far into the world as the children she touched, grew into confident, brave and creative adults.
Linda’s influence extended into her community where she played an active role helping to initiate positive change. Her generosity of spirit was also extended toward individuals as she helped by offering them emotional support. Linda was a devoted friend, spending time with the young as well as the old. In an age when so many people are too busy, Linda made time to make her friends feel special and loved. Once you met her you’d never forget her, and…she never forgot your face, down to the mole on your chin.
She was a picture taker. Most that knew her have pictures, a storybook of memories, a card with notes of how glad she was to have met you, or a poem of things about you.
It is rare to have the experience of knowing an individual with the breadth of sensitivity, intuition and generosity that Linda possessed. She will never be forgotten as each day we will celebrate her life, her smile and her curious, creative nature. I find comfort in imagining her off somewhere, with her warm smile on her face, dancing freely with the Angels where she belongs!
Linda, you and I began our relationship 52 years ago and after 6 years of dating, we were married on Aug. 13, 1966. We then moved from our hometown in Pa. to N.Y. where we began our "new" life together. In 1972 we settled in the "little" town of Wading River, bought our first and only house and together made this our "home." We both worked tirelessly over our entire life together raising our wonderful son Michael while expressing both our love for nature, working together turning our property into our "Garden of Eden."
We also took our wedding vows on Aug. 13, 1966 to love each other "for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health; until death us do part." These words were meaningful to me then but became even more meaningful to me now when you became seriously ill with lung cancer, which eventually took your life, after a courageous battle. Linda you were my heart, my soul and the love of my life. I will miss you everyday for the rest of my life. Your Loving Husband, Richard
What a wonderful sister you were for 69yrs. Whenever we could- we hung out together, just enjoying each others company.
I always looked up to you. You were a creative and smart person with lots of talent. Yes- an artist, seamstress,musician,poet,designer and writer. You were a "WONDER WOMAN"
You never stopped learning from all the books you would read. Books from vitamins to religions,quite an extensive collection of knowledge. And if something was there to share - you would call and tell me about it.
We,also, shared stories about our precious grandchildren-bragging-as Grandmas tend to do.
Everyone loved you,Linda. What's not to love about you?
You were special and I will miss you, Linda
I love you near or far
You will always be that shining star.
My love is there with you - SISTER's FOREVER
Linda was my sister-in-law and Richard is my brother so I have known Linda for a very long time. On our first meeting I was immediately struck by her beauty and intelligence. She loved being around people and wherever Linda was you could be assured a very lively, interesting, and intelligent discussion would evolve. This fascinated me as I tend to be more reserved. When Linda married my brother Richard, it was a very happy time for everyone and our son Tony III was in the wedding party as their ring bearer. Over the years my love for Linda grew and I admired and loved her so very much and could see why my brother fell in love with her. She was such a good wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. My regret is that I did not say this to her often enough. She made such an effort to stay in touch with everyone, even though she had a busy life. My heart goes out to her family and friends - especially Robin and Eloise who have shown such love and support to Richard. So . . . Linda - I know that you can hear me now - thank you so much for being the wonderful, kind, thoughtful, and loving person that you have been and especially for all the love and care you have given to Richard and the great mother, daughter, and sister to your family. In conclusion I would like to say that I think everyone should have a "Linda" in their life.
Acceptance...that is the word that comes to mind when I think of Linda. We were blessed to have the most wonderful sister that any one could have. She loved us without restraint. We are all so different, but that never deterred her. She was always there for us. No matter what we talked about, no matter what the subject, she never acted surprised or put us down.
She could make us do things that made us look like fools, but later on would have a lasting effect on our lives.
Why? Because she documented EVERYTHING on film
or in a pictorial.
She was an historian, teacher and above all a lover of life, she taught us to be the same.
This filtered down to the her nieces and nephews
who have benefited from her warmth, sincerity and love of life.
We will miss her everyday seeing pieces of her love in our homes and every place in between.
There will never be a day that goes by that I will not think of you Linda, just because I LOVE
Your Sister, Eloise
Aunt Linda, you touched all the lives in my family in a very special way. Even though we rarely saw each other in person, you always made a point to send birthday cards with long meaningful messages to us all. You inspired me with your wonderful picture based Christmas letters (which I now enjoy sending). You amazed me with your quest for family history. You always knew so much about my daughters and took interest in their interests. When we visited your home in the summer of 2008, you and Uncle Richard were such wonderful hosts. Thank you for making such a difference in our lives and we will always hold wonderful memories of our times together. Love Always - Tony III, Chris, Caitlin & Veronica Phillips
There are so many things I will always remember. You were the most upbeat person I have ever known. You loved to laugh and it was infectious. The fun times we had at your house and mine and our lunches still make me smile. You were a great storyteller and photographer. What you did for my 60th birthday party was wonderful. I will miss you.
Richard, I am so sorry for your loss and I will miss Linda so very much. You two had the perfect marriage and I strive every day to be like you two. I am so glad that Linda loved making and posing for pictures. Because of that, we all have so many great memories to share. It is so like Linda to go to heaven first so that she can give us the grand tour when we get there and so she can introduce us to all her new friends. I know that I will see her again and I am looking forward to that grand day!!! I can still hear her messages when she would call. She would say "hi, this is your big sister Linda". She always said it exactly the same way every time. And I can also hear her saying, in her best southern draw, "I L-O-V-E you. In fact, that is the last thing that she said to me. Linda, I L-O-V-E you, and I miss you!!!
Richard, I am so sorry for your loss. Linda was a warm individual who not only was a good neighbor but also taught my nieces and nephews movement at the Stony Brook Montessori School. My nieces and nephews would always tell me how they loved it when Linda would roller skate with them around the school. As a neighbor, I will always remember her as being so close to you, Richard. Whenever you saw Linda you saw Richard. They worked tirelessly throughout the neighborhood doing yard work. I always thought,"Where do they get their energy from!!" It was so impressive that Linda would always help neighbors with their yard work while they were away or would be cleaning up the wooded area by the church. She was amazing!! Whenever I would see Linda she would always have interest in my kids or my dogs. Even though she didn't own a pet she knew asking about mine was important to me so she always made sure to inquire. That was such a special quality about Linda, she cared!! She will be deeply missed around the neighborhood. I will miss seeing her walk up my way in the morning and the conversations we had. I am sure her big smile is shining on all of us from above.
Love, Nicole Mullen
You have always been an inspiration to many people - but most of all to me (yes, your little brother, John Joe). In my life time, I don't think I have ever known a more positive person. Not only towards others, young and old, but as a role model for how a person should show themselves for who they really are - - You are the Real Deal. You have always been the best at what you do, Mentor, Mother, Wife, Grandmother and of course, Big Sister. I truly appreciate all that you have done to make those around you feel like they were just as special as everyone else you came in contact with. You have fought many battles and won, despite your sickness, you battled it like a champ - and guess what...you won - no suffering, no hurting, but eternal peace of mind, and of course, spirit. I will truly miss a one-of-a-kind friend and big sister! i will also miss the infectious smile which will radiate in my thoughts forever. ---Your Runner Dude / Surfer Joe Brother JOHN JOE. Peace, Love and Joy Forever!!!
Where to Begin?
Linda was born first, then Eloise, then me, and then Robin. Each of us were literally born a year apart, give or take a few months. Linda now 69, Eloise 68, me, 66 going on 67 in November, and Robin, 65 going on 66 in September. We were the "first" cousins, and the "older" girls and Francis and John trailed behind us. As kids we spent excited Christmas parties, and summer vacations together. Such wonderful memories of all 4 of us, together in the back seat of my parent's car (before seat belts). We giggled and pinched, and had great fun. We went swimming in the pond on our farm, picked blue and black berries, apples, and peaches, and sat and ate them in the sun. We carried these warm and happy childhood memories into our futures.
On August 13,1966 I was a part of Linda's wedding party, and yesterday, I sat down with my son Drew and shared the wedding photos with him all these years later. Drew is 16, and seeing his mother and cousins in youthful photos was a bit of a "shocker" to him! Linda, I know you would smile, and find his reaction really funny. Yes we were all beautiful. Eloise was sitting near me as was Linda, at the wedding reception table. We were all "thin" and "cheeky".
So many wonderful things were ahead of us, and Linda and Richard "stretched their wings and did a thousand things", by moving off to New York.
Over the years we drifted through our lives, but always came back again to share our memories and events in our current lives. The girls came together with extended family for Robin's 60th on Amelia Island, Florida in September 2006. We all joined together again for my children's special events. Linda truly chronicled all of our lives with her depth of love and time given to detailing and documenting these important life events.
Funny, how we always think that we have all the "time in the world" to do more things together. This time, things happened so fast, and so furiously...
Richard,(and Linda) and all the family and friends who cherished Linda: I think of you and I am reminded of what true love, friendship and kinship means. It is best described in the following poem:
Oh, the COMFORT-the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words-but pouring them
All right out-just as they are--
Chaff and grain together--
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them--
Keep what is worth keeping--
And with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.
Friendship by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
I know that Linda will live on with us, as her memory truly is a part of our lives and our futures.
My love to all of you, Patty
I will always hear your laughter and your warm voice. I didn't see you often, but shared your adventures and family life through Eloise. I first met you and Richard in 1965 and know that you remained loyal, consistent, upbeat, and caring through all those years. You were the heart of a wonderful family, just as your mother was. I'll miss you.
You were one of the few people who loved to write letters and took the time to pour your thoughts and feelings onto paper. Reading them made me feel as though I was sitting with a cup of tea and sharing a conversation with you. I looked forward to hearing what your latest adventure was with your sisters and family and seeing your pictures. I am sure you are reading the loving messages here. Thank you for caring about me and including me in your life. I will miss your beautiful smiling face and friendship. I love you.
I Miss you so much Linda! I'm so sorry Richard and Mike! My heart is broken, Linda meant so much to me..
This is A Poem I wrote In Lindas Memory..
Farewell my Earth Angel,
So sad you had to go.
Your friendship was a blessing
And I will miss you so.
We Shared so many secrets,
You brightened up my days
You brought me so much happiness
With your kind and loving ways.
You lifted up my spirits
When I was feeling blue
No matter what was happening
You knew just what to do.
Our quick 5 min phone calls,
they ran hours on end.
We only had to hang up as
our phones they just went dead.
Childhood memories while growing up,
I fondly do recall,
we made and danced in
Willow tree grass skirts,
barefoot on the grass.
Music and your laughter,
it always set the beat.
All the neighborhood children
would frolic at your feet.
We baked fresh homemade
Raspberry pies from scratch,
wow we made such a mess!
You took me to my first Broadway play,
and my first NYC trip.
Giggling and laughing always at the
silly things we did.
Through all the ups and downs of life
The good times and the sad
From grade school days and up to now,
You always lent your ear to me
so genuine and true.
You were a phenomenal woman,
my mentor and my friend.
I will try to live my life like you,
always upbeat and spreading cheer.
Where ever you went and
and whom ever you met
be it a stranger or a friend,
your smile was contagious,
into big fat grins.
You were a beacon of light
to all around you,
and the best friend I've ever had.
Your words of wisdom throughout the years
still echo in my ears.
Why God was here to take you home
is not my question to be asked,
the world has lost a sparkle of light
that was so precious and very dear.
I will always remember the words you whispered to me
when i saw you last.
You whispered softly in my ear
As i was choking back my tears.
Linda I love you always.
You will Live forever in my heart.
I first met Linda in 1984 the year I married her sister, Robin.We shared many family times together. So many happy memories and some very sad.One of the happiest times we shared with Linda and Richard was at the wedding of their son, Mike, to Kim. The family gatherings through the years, especially at Christmas were some of the happy times.The sad times were the passing of her brother Francis and her mother Phyllis. Linda was always their for her family and many friends.She really enjoyed being with her grand-children Hunter, Carson, and Sky.Linda was always fun to be with, and had a sense of adventure like me. She would try almost anything just for the fun of it. We went rafting,horseback riding, and flew over the glaciers,and around Mt. McKinley thru the mountains in Alaska together.Robin and I always enjoyed spending time and vacationing with Linda and Richard.We all had a great time on a cruise to Alaska with her sister Eloise and husband Hank.Robin and I also enjoyed Yosemite, Grand Tetons,and Yellowstone national parks with Linda and Richard.Just this past fall we had a wonderful time on a European cruise together.Linda was very knowledgeable and talented especially in music and writing. She wrote the life story of many family members. Linda was a very special person and will me missed by all the people who knew and loved her.I Loved Linda,she was like a sister to me and I will miss her very much.
Linda (or Mrs. Mckenna as I'll always remember you), you were kind to me during some important years of my early life. You and your husband accepted me into your home and lives and included Ed & I whenever you were taking Mike places. Whether it was the Jersey shore or BMX races at some dusty track, the two of you were patient and supportive of me as you were for your own son... looking back now, and with 2 boys the same age now, I understand how much patience it must have taken! I am truly in your debt. Even today, I tell others about my "second parents" who were such an important part of my boyhood.
Later, you never lost complete touch with me. After I married you kept the connection by including MY kids in your circle - one of my oldest son's earliest memories will be of the large boxes you sent filled with play sand or paints or gadgets to experiment with. Sadly, he will never get to know you the way I did. But yet you have touched his life too.
The both of you had, I believe, a profound impact on me when I needed it - in fact I think it's fair to say you helped me be the man I am today.
Much more than a neighbor...
Richard & Mike, I am saddened by your loss and pray you both experience the Lord's blessing as you re-orient your lives. I would love the chance to reconnect with each of you some time - just google me to get my contact info.