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Gerald Sartwell McKenna
Viewing: June 6, 2019 (Thursday) from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM at St. Janes Frances de Chantal
Service: June 6, 2019 (Thursday) at 11:00 AM
Location: St. Jane Francis de Chantal

Gerald Sartwell McKenna (Age 91) – Jerry, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, after a short illness.  Jerry is survived by his beloved wife Helen Martin McKenna, his sister, Sr. Judith McKenna, C.S.C., his sons, Paul (Laura), Hugh (Manuela), Lawrence, Michael, Jude, and James (Siobhan), his nieces Mary (Richard), Margy, Sheila, and Susie, his nephews Joe and Jerry, his grand-children, Kaitlin, Alexandra, Sarah, Grace, Corrinne, Nicole, Judith, Marc (Betsy), and Kevin (Kathryn), and his great-grandchildren Maura, Charlotte, Claire, and Patrick.  Jerry was predeceased by his brother, Harry, sister, Pat, and sons, Tom and Ed. 

Jerry was born in Washington, D.C. to Grace and Harry McKenna and graduated from Blessed Sacrament School, Gonzaga College High School (’44), Catholic University and Georgetown Law School. 

Jerry served in the US Army at the end of World War II, and, after basic training, was sent to Japan to serve as part of the occupying force.  When the transport ship carrying Jerry to Japan arrived at Yokohama harbor, one his fellow soldiers on-board ship was suspected of having contracted yellow fever. Understandably, Jerry, and everyone else on the ship, was required to be quarantined in Japan for 2 months, and thereafter put on a return voyage back home. While saddened by the fact that what under different circumstances could have been a brilliant military career had been cruelly and unfairly abbreviated, with characteristic good cheer and optimism, Jerry set his sights for home and civilian life. 

After being honorably discharged from the Army, Jerry resumed his studies and received his engineering degree from Catholic University. Jerry then joined Bernard F. Locraft Civil Engineers in Washington, D.C., where he spent his entire professional career. 

In 1951 Jerry and Helen were married at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, DC. In the mid-1950’s, he, Helen, and the growing family moved to Bethesda, and joined the parish of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, where he served for many years as an usher at 10 o’clock mass and remained a staunch parishioner until his passing. Jerry joined the Knights of Columbus Rock Creek Council. He and Helen, deeply devoted to their faith, sent all of their children to elementary school at St. Jane’s and purposefully wove the life of the immediate family together with that of the larger parish family. 

Jerry dedicated his life to selfless service to others in the Ignatian tradition, Ad majorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salute, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of humanity. He was beloved and admired by others in his life because of his deep humility, gentle nature, absolute integrity, complete sincerity, keen intellect, and genuine kindness. In his life, Jerry’s love of faith, family, and friends never wavered. 

Visitation will be held at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Church, Bethesda, MD, at 10 A.M. on Thursday, June 6, 2019, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 A.M., with a reception to follow.  Interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Washington, DC, at 11 A.M. on June 7, 2019. 

In honor of Jerry’s life, the family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to Gonzaga College High School for the Class of ‘44 Scholarship fund.

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