Robert McKenna

Robert J. McKenna

Wednesday, September 15th, 1937 - Friday, October 25th, 2019
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Robert J. McKenna, 82, known by his friends and family as “Bob,” passed away on Friday October 25, 2019 in Wayne, NJ. He was born in The Bronx, New York, the son of proud, Irish immigrant parents, and has lived in Ringwood for the last 52 years. Bob was a member of Saint Catherine of Bologna Parish and a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother.

Bob is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Joan McKenna (Grafer), his daughter and son-in-law, Maureen and John Harris of Wanaque, and two grandchildren, Kathryn Mary Harris of Wanaque and Jennifer Harris of Dallas, Texas. He is also survived by his brother, John McKenna, of Wantage, New Jersey, and his brother- and sister-in-law, Don Grafer and Susan Koski-Grafer of Ocean Pines, Maryland.

Bob’s beloved mother and father, Elizabeth (Moran) and Michael McKenna, his younger brother James McKenna, sister, Elizabeth “Bunny” Cassese and her husband, John Cassese, pre-deceased Bob by many years. Bob acted as surrogate father and guardian to surviving niece and nephew, Elizabeth Cassese-Aldridge, and Sean Cassese. Bob is also survived by a great many other beloved nieces and nephews, their spouses and children.

Bob’s greatest joy in life was caring for his family. The love of his life, Joan, and his daughter and granddaughter, Maureen and ‘Katy May’ held a special place in his heart. He had an unwavering commitment to them, and they in turn were a source of steadfast love and affection.

Bob was quiet, unassuming and easy-going, but his warm spirit was a bright light to everyone whose lives he touched. His kind nature put people immediately at ease, and his genuine enthusiasm and joy for life were uncomplicated and uplifting.

Having persisted through the harsh conditions of his early upbringing, Bob was determined to forge a good life and solid future for his loved ones. At the age of 17 he began work for Manufacturers Trust as a teller and stayed with the company through several historical mergers and acquisitions, steadily progressing through the ranks and amassing greater responsibility. During this time, Bob also joined the National Guard and served his country proudly for 8 years.

He graduated from NYU School of Commerce with a bachelor’s degree in science (Magna Cum Laude) in 1966, then Bob moved his family to the fledgling community of Ringwood in 1967. Being of hearty, Irish stock, he commuted daily to New York City for the next 29 years, never missing a single day of work. Bob ended his career with JP Morgan, Chase & Co. as Branch Manager of the 28 Liberty Street branch, located in the shadow of the World Trade Center; the nerve center of New York’s Financial district where he retired as Managing Director in 1995, at the age of 57.

Bob spent the next 24 years with Joan, his wife of 60 years, traveling the Eastern Seaboard, cruising the Atlantic and happily sharing time between their homes and friends in Ringwood and Ocean Pines, Maryland, where he learned to captain his Chaparral 260 Signature, proudly christened, ‘The Katy May.’ The family will always hold fond memories of numerous deep-sea fishing trips coordinated by Bob and his brother-in-law, Don Grafer.

Bob was a vibrant and active man his entire life, until a relatively brief illness took his light from us, much too soon.

The family will receive family and friends on Tuesday from 3-7 pm at Vander Plaat-Vermeulen Memorial Home, 530 High Mountain Road, Franklin Lakes.

Funeral Mass on Wednesday 11:00 AM at St. Catherine of Bologna Parish, 112 Erskine Rd, Ringwood, NJ.

Interment at Christ the King Cemetery, 980 Huron Rd, Franklin Lakes, NJ.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 | 3:00pm - 7:00pm
    Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 3:00pm - 7:00pm
    Vander Plaat-Vermeulen Memorial Home
    530 High Mountain Road
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 11:00am
    St. Catherine of Bologna RC Church
    112 Erskine Road
    RINGWOOD, NJ 07456
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Christ The King Cemetery
    980 Horon Road
    Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417-
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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John, Laura, Ryan and Kyle McKenna and Love Kathleen sent flowers to the family of Robert J. McKenna.
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Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 09:23pm
Our warmest condolences, Chris, Michelle, and Cori Grafer
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John, Laura, Ryan and Kyle McKenna

Posted at 05:13pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time, remember the good times and laughter. Our love and condolences.
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John, Laura, Ryan and Kyle McKenna purchased the The FTD Faithful Blessings Bouquet for the family of Robert McKenna. Send Flowers


Love Kathleen

Posted at 08:37am
Beloved Friend
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Love Kathleen purchased flowers for the family of Robert McKenna. Send Flowers


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