Johanna Margaret McKenna
Longmeadow, MA — With great sorrow, the family of Johanna Margaret McKenna announce her passing at the age of 71.
Johanna devoted her life to educating, mentoring, and advocating for the needs of children and young adults. She recently retired after many years on the Education Faculty of Elms College in Chicopee, MA, and she also taught at American International College and Cornell University. Johanna’s professional interests focused on the emotional and social development of children, and her love for children inspired creative and dedicated work for more than 18 years as principal of Bridge Street School in Northampton, MA. Prior to her position in Northampton, Johanna worked as a principal for the Gateway Regional School District for six years, simultaneously directing educational programs at Middlefield, Chester, and Worthington elementary schools. Johanna began her career in Western Massachusetts after completing her education at Fordham University and Cornell University, with a ten-year position as the Western Massachusetts District Coordinator for the Massachusetts Migrant Education Program.
Johanna was an enthusiastic life-long learner and writer who loved music, horses, poetry, cats, and Russian literature. She was passionate about creating positive change in the world, and her sparkling wit, generosity and strong convictions fostered deep friendships. Johanna was born in Northampton, MA to Mary (O’Leary) McKenna (deceased) from South Boston MA and James W. McKenna (deceased) from Lynn MA. Most of Johanna’s childhood was spent in Long Island, NY, where she developed a love for reading in apple trees and visiting the beach for solitude and reflection. In recent years, Johanna worked on developing a genealogy for her family. She was known as “Joy” to her younger siblings who she encouraged and protected throughout her life: Eileen (deceased), Mary, James, Timothy, and Jolie. She was also a beloved cousin, aunt and great aunt who will be sorely missed. When asked by a reporter “What one moment in your life would you like to do over again?”, Johanna answered “The next one because there is always one more”.
A memorial service for Johanna will be held on Tuesday, March 8 at 4 p.m. in the chapel in Berchmans Hall at Elms College, 291 Springfield Street, Chicopee, MA. Parking is available in the side lot, near the Admissions Office/ flagpole/ reflecting pool. Please enter Berchmans Hall at the side entrance, near those landmarks. In observance of Covid regulations, all guests must wear masks indoors at the College. In lieu of flowers, please send a tribute donation to the Children’s Defense Fund, https://www.childrensdefense.org/
Published by Daily Hampshire Gazette on Mar. 1, 2022.