Sister Joan McKenna, SNJM

Marian Joan

November 16, 1929 – July 15, 2015

Sister Joan McKenna, SNJM departed this life on July 15, 2015, in Spokane, Washington.

Sister Joan celebrated 85 years of life and 64 years of religious profession.

She was an alum of Marylhurst, Portland, OR, ’53.



Sister Joan McKenna, SNJM

November 16, 1929 – July 15, 2015

Sister Joan McKenna, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, died July 15 at Hospice House in Spokane. She was 85.

She was born in Fresno, California, and graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, Oregon. She joined the Sisters of the Holy Names in 1947. She earned a B.A. in math from Marylhurst University, a M.A. in math from the University of Detroit, and a Ph.D. in math from St. Louis University.

She began her teaching career in 1949 at Immaculate in Seattle and St. Francis High School in Eugene, Oregon. She also taught at Fort Wright College of the Holy Names and then at Spokane Falls Community College.

She was asked by her community to return to community service to implement her technology skills as director of computer services for the provincial department. In 1996 she added the responsibility for purchasing, licensing and upkeep of the fleet of province cars. In 2006 she retired because of her rheumatoid arthritis.

She used her creative eye as a photographer to identify every plant on the convent’s 57 acres, as well as compiling several books on flora. As a young woman she was athletic and especially enjoyed figure skating. During the Spokane Expo in 1974, she trained as an “accountant” to function at qualifying competitions. By 1985 she was an intermediate test judge and officiated at a number of national championships. She enjoyed European traveling and spoke French and German. 

A funeral Mass will be celebrated July 24 at 10 a.m. at the Convent of the Holy Names in Spokane.

Memorial gifts may be made to Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, PO Box 398, Marylhurst, OR, 97036, or online at