Published in Ventura County Star from December 3 to December 6, 2011
Gerard A. McKenna passed away on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011, in
Camarillo at the age of 80.
Gerard "Jerry" McKenna was born in Washington, D.C., on July 9,
1931. He was the eighth child and seventh son of Thomas McKenna
and Mary Bresnahan McKenna. He spent two years of high school
at St. Charles Prep Seminary in Catonsville, Md., and then
graduated from St. Johns High School in Washington, D.C. He
was Valedictorian of his class and was awarded a scholarship to
Georgetown University. Jerry graduated from Georgetown with a
Bachelor's degree in economics.
He was selected for the Navy OCS, and his Naval career started with tours of duty on the
USS Vesole and the USS Courtney. He was later ordered to the USS Observation Island
EAG-154 as Polaris Missile-Launch Officer. During this tour Jerry participated in the
launching of 12 Polaris Missiles in the experimental categories (A-1X and A-2X), and he
assisted in the launching of Production category Polaris Missiles from the USS George
Washington, the Patrick Henry, etc. During his Naval career he was later stationed in
Pittsfield, Mass., where he was assigned the task of launching 70 Sea Sparrow missiles to
prove the feasibility of adapting the Sparrow Missile for surface use. Jerry was then
assigned to serve as the Operations Officer of the Naval Astronautics Group in Point Mugu,
Calif. He later worked with the Naval Ship Weapon Systems Engineering Station.
Jerry was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Third and Fourth Degrees for over 40
years. He is also a former Grand Knight of Oxnard Council 750. Jerry was a member of
Santa Clara Church where he was a Lector for over 30 years. He was most recently a
member of Padre Serra Parish in Camarillo. Jerry was proud of his Irish ancestry and his
In 1956, Jerry married Jean Marie Shannon. They had four children: Gregory (wife Lisa),
Susan McKenna, Corinne Storey (husband Brett), and Laura Miller (husband Paul). Jean
passed away in 1985. Jerry was also very proud of his 11 grandchildren, Maxwell and
Morgan McKenna, Shannon, Danielle, and Patrick Trevino, Bob, Sean, and Jacqueline
Storey, and Brandon, Tara, and Megan Miller. Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Ann
Bernadette Pedersen, whom he married in 1992. He is also survived by his brother,
Thomas McKenna of Tampa, Fla., and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to the
love and support of his family, he was blessed with many wonderful friends in his life.
Jerry was particularly appreciative of those who provided him love and comfort over the last
few months of his life. To George, Ann, and his many friends he would say, "Slainte!"
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5, with a Vigil service beginning at
6:30 p.m. at Santa Clara Mortuary, 2370 North H Street, Oxnard. Mass of Christian Burial
will be held 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at Santa Clara Church, 323 South E Street, Oxnard.
Burial will follow at Santa Clara Cemetery.