LINDA RAE MCKENNA
March 1, 1938 - August 9, 2021
Linda Rae McKenna breathed forth her soul to God in the presence of her family and her faithful caregiver on Monday morning, August 9th. Advanced age and decline brought on from the cumulative effects of strokes over the last couple of years contributed to her leaving this world.
The eldest daughter of John and Yole Antongiovanni, Linda was born on March 1st, 1938. She was married to Frank J. McKenna (deceased) for over 60 years, was a faithful a devoted wife, and a loving mother to her 5 children.
Linda was a true daughter of Bakersfield. A farmer's daughter, she was born at Mercy Hospital. She attended grammar school at St. Francis and graduated from Garces High School. She attended Dominican College in Marin County and graduated with a BA in Music and her teaching credential. Her senior year she became student body resident.
Upon graduating, she returned to Bakersfield where she was one of the first organists at St. Francis Church. It was there that she met her husband Frank, a member of the Marian Choir. While raising her family was her number one priority, she had an extensive social network. She maintained close contact until her death with best friends from grammar school. She sang in a chorus called the Music Bells, played in Bridge clubs, and actively represented her Italian heritage as a member over decades at the Italian Cultural Federation. In later years she joined the Golden Agers.
Early on in her family life she taught CCD at St. Francis Church. As her children grew, she became a Cub Scout den mother for her boys, and a Campfire leader for her daughters troop. She also taught English and World History at Carden School of Bakersfield where her children attended as well as cooking and sewing of which she was highly accomplished.
Linda was an avid reader, a critical thinker and embraced her Catholic Faith. Along with Sunday Mass, she loved Marian devotions of which the Rosary was her favorite. Raising her children, she insisted on reciting the family Rosary each night. She led by example to instill the principles of logic and moral character in her children. Her love for the Catholic Church always guided her in navigating the cultural and liturgical upheavals affecting the Church and society at the time. Her staunch anticommunism and Catholic charity led her and her family to host Lithuanian law enforcement and medical professionals after the fall of the Berlin Wall to support their endeavors to reestablish rights, freedoms, and free-market ideals in their homeland.
Linda enjoyed traveling. In the eighties and nineties, Linda would travel oversees to Colombia, Peru, Spain, Italy, Scotland, England, France, and Belgium. She attended her oldest son's wedding in Lithuania. She spent time in Brazil on her third-oldest son's grape farm. Adventure and trying new things were welcome experiences.
Linda served as President of Mercy Hospital Auxiliary following in the footsteps of her mother who was a founding member. She also managed the gift shop at Mercy Southwest for many years.
Linda's kindness and charity meant that guests were always welcome in her home, nobody ever left hungry, money for charitable donations always was found, dollar-store toys lay hidden in a sack to be given to any baby or child entering the house. She loved children. She truly cared for those in need and for causes that needed defending. She put everything into Gods hands. This was especially true toward the end of her life when she and Frank needed around the clock care. God sent angels in the form of exceptional caregivers to minister with the utmost love and care the way that she had done for others.
To her children, she was and will always be Mom. To her friends and family, she will be the bridge-partner, the counselor, the pianist, the clever travel companion, the black-coffee drinker, pasta fan, a dog lover, the genius of crossword puzzles, and adroit at 1000-piece jig-saw puzzles.
Linda is preceded in death by her husband Frank, son John, parents John and Yole Antongiovanni, brother J. Stanley Antongiovanni and his wife Kathleen, and sister Irene Stephens. She is survived by her children: Thomas (Bridgette), Edward, Maureen Beccari (Antonio) and Michael, daughter-in-law Diana McKenna as well as her sisters Judy Walsh (Tom), Jane Uhalt (Gary), Gabrielle Weeza Vanherweg and her brother-in-law John Stephens. She also leaves behind her grandchildren Kristina, Martin and Monika McKenna, Alexander, Francesca and Antonio II Beccari and Conor Duggan and her many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The McKenna family wishes to thank Hoffman Hospice for their service and outstanding support that they provided over the last years and in recent days. Also, a special, immeasurable heartfelt thanks goes out to Rachel Gutierrez who like a good and faithful friend refused to let a day pass that she did not serve Linda selflessly. The same whole-hearted gratitude is extended to the team of caregivers who cared 24 hours a day, for over 6 years, with love and compassion for both Linda and Frank.
A rosary will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Church on Friday evening, August 13th, at 7:00PM. The funeral mass will be held at St. Francis, Saturday, August 14th, at 1:30PM. Interment to follow immediately afterward at Greenlawn Southwest Memorial Park, 2739 Panama Lane.