RAYMOND J. McKENNA, 59, of Warwick, died Sunday, May 9, 2010 at home surrounded by his family.

He was the beloved husband of Susan M. (Veresko) McKenna and the cherished son of Eileen A. (Simmons) McKenna and the late Raymond J. McKenna.

He earned his Bachelor's Degree at Providence College and his Master's Degree at Rhode Island College.

Ray spent 8 years at sea as first mate and captain on a number of fishing trawlers. He then pursued his graduate studies while working at Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital and spent 26 years working as a licensed independent social worker.

He was the school social worker for special education in the West Warwick Middle and Senior High Schools until retiring in June, 2009 due to illness.

Ray was instrumental in the formation of a partnership between the West Warwick School Department and Thundermist Health Care Center to provide a clinic that would serve West Warwick students and, for this, he received an award from the RI Department of Health and Education.

Ray was a founding member of the RI Irish Famine Memorial Committee and served as president for 12 years.

This culminated in the creation of an enduring commemorative monument in Providence along Riverwalk.

Ray was a forty year student of the martial arts and owner and chief instructor of the South County Tai Chi Club.

He was a member of:

  • the AOH, Warwick Division 1,
  • the RI Police Officers Emerald Society,
  • the RI Unit Irish Northern Aid, and
  • the Sons of the Irish Kings.

He was a member of:

  • Hope Rifle and Pistol Club,
  • Cranston Fish and Game, and
  • the Rocky Hill Grange.

He was the loving father of Raymond J. McKenna, Jr. of CA and Petty Officer Brendan P. McKenna, USN.

His funeral will be held Friday at 8:45 am from the Thomas & Walter Quinn Funeral Home, 2435 Warwick Ave. with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 am in St. Gregory the Great Church, Cowesett Ave. Burial will be in St. Francis Cemetery, Pawtucket. Visiting hours Thursday 4-8 pm.

In lieu of flowers donations to the RI Irish Famine Memorial Committee, PO Box 28077, Providence, RI 02908 in Ray's memory will be deeply appreciated.

For information and condolences, visit TheQuinnFuneralHome.com

Published in The Providence Journal on May 12, 2010.