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Joan Watson (Watson) McKenna

February 23, 1929 ~ December 4, 2018 (age 89)
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Joan Margaret Watson McKenna, 89, passed away on December 4, 2018. She had survived her husband of 54 years, William G. McKenna, who passed away in 2009. Joan was born on February 23, 1929 in the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia. Following graduation from Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, she worked for Gulf Oil, where she met Bill, and Philadelphia Electric Company. Bill won her hand after a five-year courtship, and they were married at St. Bridget’s Church in East Falls on November 24, 1955.  

Joan was a beauty, and a woman of exquisite taste. She collected jewelry, fine china, and cut glass. She always dressed in style. She loved to dance, and especially thrilled to see a good tap dancer. Joan was an avid reader and traveler, and an accomplished artist in charcoal, pencil, and watercolors. And she was a life-long student of art and history, a highlight of which was her acceptance in a competitive course at the Barnes Foundation. A serious genealogist, who traveled to research primary sources documenting her mother’s Irish ancestry and her father’s Welsh and early American roots, she leaves a wealth of family history for her grandchildren. Though “a Philadelphia girl, born and bred”, she fell in love with the desert landscapes and American Indian cultures of the Southwest on the first of many family vacations out west. She often recalled that when she first saw the desert, she felt like she had “come home.” Joan and Bill eventually made a second home in Green Valley, AZ, where they enjoyed stunning views of the Santa Rita Mountains over many winters.

Joan is survived by her five children and their spouses who cared for her in her later years: Jenifer McKenna of Northampton, MA; Thaddeus and Virginia McKenna of Oreland, PA; Deirdre and Seth Baliban of Louisville, KY; Joan C. McKenna and Edward Sullivan of Richmond, VA; and Tina and Brian McHale of Phoenix, AZ; and by her six grandchildren, who knew her as “Honey”: Daniel and Keiren Baliban; Sean A. McKenna, Dominic McKenna DeSalvio, and Kyle and Connor McHale.

Relatives and friends are invited to a viewing on Wednesday, December 12, 7- 9 PM, at The Koller Funeral Home, 6835 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, 19128, and a funeral mass on Thursday, December 13, at 10 AM, at Our Mother of Consolation Catholic Church, 9 East Chestnut Hill Ave., Philadelphia, 19118. Following internment at Calvary Cemetery in Conshohocken, family and friends will gather for a luncheon at 12:30 PM at the Valley Green Inn, Valley Green Road at Wissahickon, Philadelphia 19128. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in Joan’s name to the Dementia Society of America or any non-profit provider of hospice care. 

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