Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, April 30, at 10 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Storm Lake. Burial will be in the St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Storm Lake with full Military Rites by the Alta VFW Post #6172. The Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake is in charge of the arrangements.
Jim was born April 25, 1917 on the family farm near Early, to Alma (Smith) and John McKenna. He attended country school through fifth grade and continued his education at Sacred Heart in Early, and then graduated at the age of 16 from Nemaha High School in Nemaha. He attended Buena Vista College after a year of helping on the farm, and then returned home for two more hardworking years. In the fall of 1937, Jim attended Iowa State College in Ames and while studying full time, worked at the ISU Beef Barn. He was also a member of the dairy and livestock judging teams, traveling across the Midwest for various competitions. He graduated from Iowa State in 1940 with a Bachelors Degree in Animal Science.
After graduation he began working in Fort Dodge for the Webster County 4-H Club as a county agent, and he met a beautiful nursing student, Marye Champlin. The two continued courtship while serving their country during World War II; Jim as a Navy-trained Marine pilot and Marye a registered Navy nurse. They married in February of 1945 at Camp Pendleton, Calif. and moved to Virginia, Ill. and Vincent, in the following years.
Jim and Marye permanently settled on a farm outside of Storm Lake in March of 1954 where they made a blessed home to eight children and created a thriving agricultural enterprise. In 1980 they built a home on the lake in Storm Lake, but Jim did not officially retire from farming until 2001. Throughout the years he was an active member for the B.V. County Pork Producers, B.V. County Farm Bureau, ISU Extension Council, Knights of Columbus and served on the Board of Trustees for Buena Vista Regional Medical Center. He was honored in 1958 as the B.V. County Master Pork Producer. Jim enjoyed farming, playing cards, spending time with his family, and sharing remarkable stories and experiences with all. He will be forever treasured as a generous, loyal, determined, brilliant and loving man. Jim was and always will be a true inspiration to all who knew him.
Those left to honor Jim's memory are his children: Rosemarye (John) Rathke of Copperas Cove, Texas; Michael McKenna of Blakesburg; Kathleen (Bruce) Osterman of Sibley; Kevin (Jan) McKenna of Storm Lake; Maureen (Brad) Strader of Storm Lake; Stephen McKenna of Storm Lake; Teresa (Brian) Caslavka of Muscatine; and Melissa (Dennis) Fagan of Cedar Rapids; 19 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; brother, Donald (Kay) McKenna of Savoy, Ill.; and sister, Margery Parrott of Long Island, N.Y.
Preceding him in death are his loving wife of 59 years, Marye; parents; two brothers; one sister; one granddaughter; and one daughter-in-law.
The family has requested that memorials may be directed to Genesis Development, BVRMC Foundation (Hospice or Wound Ostomy), and BV Manor.