Celebrating a lifetime of service
Mary McKenna was born in 1936 and lived to a respectable age of 83. She died peacefully at Arohanui Hospice on the 11th September 2019. Her obituary notice quotes “A lifetime of serving others.” This couldn’t be more fitting for a lady who contributed so much to Arohanui Hospice as an organisation.
Mary was a dedicated Samaritan who loved to keep busy. She raised four children, Shelley, Tracey, Hilary, and Grant, who all held their mother in the highest regard noting her high standards, boundless generosity, and her significant contribution to society. With a passion for learning, Mary had a Bachelor of Arts double majoring in Education and Psychology and taught at secondary school for most of her career. Completing a further two diplomas in special needs and religious studies in her retirement.
Mary’s involvement with Arohanui Hospice started in 1983, when the idea of a Hospice was germinating. As a member of the Christian Homes Trust, Mary was involved in setting up the Brightwater Village villas. With funds left over from this project, the Trust was empowered by its trust deed to “seek further charitable objects within New Zealand…” From here the Trust decided to help with the Hospice concept. This was the start of 35 years of volunteering and contributing to Arohanui Hospice. Mary was a reliable board member, only ever missing one board meeting, when she was abroad watching her granddaughter compete in international cycling. She was always available for fundraising activities or to represent the Hospice.
Mary’s daughters Hilary and Tracey have vivid memories of her contribution and how closely she held Hospice in her heart. “Hospice was a part of her life, she was involved from inception, and she was a real advocate for it. She was really proud of the services they offered,” explained Hilary. “She was very passionate and protective of the staff, they were her Hospice family,” added Tracey. “I remember all the fundraising when we were growing up, it was huge.” Her contribution and efforts were noted often by Hospice management. “I always appreciated Mary’s support, you could always count on Mary,” said Clare Randall Chief Executive of Arohanui Hospice. Her daughters both recall Mary often saying, “I’d rather wear out, than rust out.” The team at Arohanui Hospice is eternally grateful for the contribution that Mary McKenna made in its first 35 years of operating. She will be remembered as a Hospice legend.