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Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Monday, January 30, 2006 at 05:16:50 :

Marin Independent Journal
Friday, February 8, 2002

James McKenna

Was born in Edgley, North Dakota July 8, 1911. He received his education through undergraduate in North Dakota. He taught High School and coached sports for the next nine years. In 1935, Jim married Violet Marie Renz who preceded him in death.

In 1941, he entered the Army serving in the European Theatre during WWII. Upon returning to North Dakota, he left the military to become a restauranteur. This career was interrupted by a recall to the military and service in the Korean War. He remained on active duty and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Presidio in 1965.

Jim started his life of volunteering back in his home state through membership in the Elks, Shriners and American Legion. His focus was always youth and people with disabilities. His interest in sports integrated with his interest in youth, led him to be appointed The American Legion State Athletic Director. While stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, he helped establish Alaskan Aide to Retarded Citizens. Later in Marin, he worked with the Marin Association for Retarded Citizens (MARC) for a number of years.

Jim came to Terra Linda in 1959. Upon retiring from the military, he served as the Director of the Department of Labor Youth Work Program for ten years.

After his final retirement, Jim developed a new career in volunteer work. He was extensively involved with Senior and Transportation programs and services in Marin County and throughout the State of California. Jim was one of the founding members of the Marin Commission of Aging (COA), and has served on that body since its inception in 1977. Between 1979 and 1981, he planned for and attended a California State House Conference on Aging in Sacramento and a White House Conference on Aging in Washington, D.C. As a result of these conferences Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and California Senior Legislature (CSL) were created. Jim served on both of these bodies as well as TACC and many others. Jim's advocacy has helped secure the Older Californians Act of 1980, the Brown Bag program, the Respite Registry program, Alzheimer's Day Care Centers, and California Senior Legislature funding. Jim received the ASA Senior Award, Marin County Senior of the Year, Advocate of the Year, California Senior of the Year, and several other awards.

Jim died a peaceful death at his home with his loved ones on January 31, 2002. He is survived by daughter, Carol McKenna; son, James McKenna, Jr.; and granddaughter, Katie McKenna.

Services will be held Saturday, February 9th at 3:00 p.m. at the Christ Presbyterian Church in Terra Linda.

1022 E Street, San Rafael

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