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Aileen Donovan McKenna aged 96 of Grand Rapids, Michigan was welcomed into the arms of Jesus on Sunday, December 18, 2022. She was preceded in death by her parents, Verone and John Donovan; her loving husband, Edward; her sister, Frances (Thomas) Runnals; brother, Jerry (Mary) Donovan; sisters-in-law, Margaret, Helen, Mary McKenna, and Jean Southwick; and niece, Maribeth Runnals. Aileen was born May 7,1926 on her family’s farm in Imaly City, Michigan.  Recounts of her happy childhood included being taught by her mother in a one room schoolhouse, sleigh rides on Christmas Eve and Sunday drives to the White Horse Inn. She loved to go dancing, played the French Horn at Imaly City High School and was her senior class secretary.  Following in her mother’s footsteps in education, she pursued a teaching degree from Eastern Michigan University, where she met her beloved husband, Edward McKenna.  They married and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and eventually had three children, James, Maureen and Kevin. Early in their marriage, Ed contracted polio. Aileen returned to teaching, a profession she loved, to support the family. She went on to receive her master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1964.  A highly respected educator, she taught a total of 34 years, retiring from Hillcrest School in 1984. Aileen was a devoted wife and mother to her family.  An inspiring woman with a deep Irish, Catholic faith, joyful spirit, quick wit, and gracious character.  She was charismatic and outgoing with a beautiful smile and willingness to see the good in others; making friends wherever she went. Upon retiring, Aileen enjoyed traveling to Ireland, England and throughout the US.  Aileen was very active in many organizations, President of Eta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Kent County Association of Retired School Personnel and GR Federation of University of Michigan Alumnae.  She was a member of the Ladies Literary Club Board of Directors, volunteered for the American Cancer Society, GR Circle Theatre, Villa Elizabeth, and the Franciscan Life Process Center.  Aileen was very involved with her parish, Saint Thomas the Apostle, leading the prayer line, working in the parish office, being an Eucharistic minister and leading their 50+ group for several years. Aileen especially enjoyed her grandchildren Melissa Mondry-Sefton (Jesse) and Stephen Mondry (Ryanne) and was a beloved great-grandmother to Isabella and Colette Sefton.  Aileen is survived by her sons, Kevin and James; daughter, Maureen; and son-in-law, Dave Mondry.  She is survived by nieces, Mary Southwick, Diane Tomlinson, Terri Jackson (Mike); and nephews, Dan Donovan (Sue), Tom and John Runnals. Her memory will always and forever be in our hearts. Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 29, 2022, from 6 to 8 pm, with the rosary at 6:30 pm at the O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Mass of Christian burial will be on Friday, December 30, 2022, at 10:30 am at Saint Thomas the Apostle church 1449 Wilcox Park Dr., Grand Rapids, MI 49506. Rev. James Chelich presiding. In lieu of flowers please give to a charity of your choice.


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