Celebrating the life of Adelheid "Heidi" J. McKenna
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Obituary for Adelheid "Heidi" J. McKenna
Adelheid "HEIDI" J. McKenna passed away on the morning of July 24, 2016 at her home in Brookings, Oregon. She went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Heidi was born in Java, Indonesia on July 19, 1934 to Hermanus Van den Akker and Ella Gertrud de Bruin. At the age of 7, Heidi was imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp from 1942-1945. In July 1954, she graduated from high school in Holland. Heidi was first married in Amsterdam to Carmine Joseph Ferriso on September 17, 1957. Heidi came to the United States with her husband Carmine. Heidi attended and graduated from San Diego State College in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. On August 13, 1965, Heidi became a United States citizen. Her husband Carmine passed away suddenly in 1966, at the age of 35.
In 1970, Heidi met Robert McKenna and they remained devoted partners to one another for 42 years, until Robert's passing in 2012. They traveled and lived throughout the Pacific Northwest finally coming to settle in Brookings, Oregon. Heidi and Robert had two children, Johanna and Robert (Robby) in 1971 and 1972, respectively. Heidi was a stay at home mother during her children's younger years. When her children were older, Heidi returned to the workforce to "go and earn some extra money," working in various capacities including being a teacher and housekeeper.
After the children left the nest (as she would fondly say), Heidi decided to devote her time and energy to writing a book about her childhood experience in the Concentration Camp. She devoted endless hours to "typing" out the book and making sure it was just right. She joined the Writers Club in Brookings where she made many fine friends. Another highlight was sharing her story with the students at Kalmiopsis School in Mrs. Dargers 5th grade class. She wanted the young people to know what history had happened. She finally finished the book in 1995. Heidi also decided to obtain her Certified Nurses Aid (check C.N.A. acronym) license in order to help others. She worked for Nurses for You, the State of Oregon, Good Sam, and other private caregivers. She enjoyed helping others. She always wanted to stay busy and it kept her going and in shape.
Her first grandson, Sam, was born on July 2000. Heidi enjoyed being a grandmother and was always with Sam, watching him while Johanna worked. Heidi became a grandmother a second time in May 2004, when Seth was born. She was always at her grandchildrens’ events at school and sports activities. She never wanted to miss a moment of spending time with her "boys." She continued to dote on her "boys" until her death. Heidi became a grandmother a third time in May 2014, this time to a little girl, Sara Jean. She always had numerous pictures of her grandkids throughout her home.
Heidi was a devoted Christian who always put her Lord and Savior Jesus above all. She instilled those values in her family. She was an active member in The Brookings Seventh Day Adventist Church, where she helped every Monday at the "soup kitchen," until her health no longer permitted her to do so. She loved to stay busy helping people.
Heidi is survived by her daughter Johanna, son-in-law Jason, and grandchildren Sam and Seth; her son Robby, daughter-in-law Erin and grandchild Sara Jean; her step children Christopher and Janet; and her sister Ellen and brother Cor.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00pm on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016 at Redwood Memorial Chapel, 1020 Fifield St., in Brookings.