Alice Rose Fairfield McKenna passed away Sunday, April 18, 2021 after a period of declining health. She was 92. Born May 9, 1928 she was the eldest child of Beatrice White Fairfield and Romeo Fairfield.
Alice lived in Dublin her entire life, until she moved, with her husband John, to Rivermead in 2014. She was born on the Carlton estate where her parents were employed. Before she started school, the family moved to the lower village into a two-family home, across from French’s Tavern. (Now the Baha’l Historic Dublin Inn) One of her most vivid memories was the hurricane of 1938. She told many stories of watching the storm’s devastation and living with the aftermath.
She attended Dublin Consolidated School and went on to graduate from Peterborough High School. After a year of college in Keene, she went to work for The Guernsey in Peterborough. Later, she worked for the Peterborough Savings Bank until the birth of her first child.
The hurricane was not the only important event of 1938. That same year, the house next door to Alice’s home was sold to a family from Long Island, New York. Frank McKenna, his wife Alma, two daughters and son John moved to Dublin. The “boy next door” caught Alice’s eye and she caught his. Upon Johns return from the Navy, there was a courtship full of square dancing, husking bees and rides in John’s “Jitney” Woody Ford station wagon. Alice and John were married in August of 1949. Shortly after, they started McKenna Well Drilling, which they operated for 50 years. They were a hard-working team.
In the early years, John and Alice lived in the upstairs apartment of the two-family home, owned by Alice’s parents. In 1956, Alice, John and their two children, moved to the house they built, on the Upper Jaffrey Road. Alice and John lived there for 58 years until they moved to Rivermead.
Alice was the heart of her home. She loved taking care of her family, knitting, baking, gardening, and doing beautiful crewel and cross stitch embroidery. She and John loved antiques and together hunted for treasures to furnish their home. She was happiest in her home, when friends and family came to share a meal or play a game of cards. Many people fondly remember her loaves of Anadama bread, fudge, cookies and famous cream puffs, which John would proudly deliver to the neighbors.
Alice was also a great animal lover with a special fondness for cats. Her brother-in-law often professed “If I get to come back for another life, please let it be as one of Alice’s cats” To her great delight, the resident cats of Rivermead spent much of their time in her room.
Alice was a long-time member of the Dublin Women’s Club and The Woman’s Guild of St. Dennis Parish, in Harrisville NH. Many years, she and Millie Whitney were Cub Scout leaders for the Dublin Cub Scout Pack. Alice was the town clerk in Dublin for several terms. She was also an enthusiastic volunteer for many organizations.
Alice was predeceased by her husband of 68 years, John; her parents and brother Francis. She is survived by her son Francis, and her daughter Marcia. Her immediate family also includes her grandson Travis, great grandson Brantley, and grand daughter Sarah, her husband William and great grandson Otto. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and their families.
Alice’s family want to express their heartfelt gratitude to the wonderful, caring and compassionate nurses and staff of Rivermead; who took such good care of Alice, kept her safe through the pandemic and provided her with joy and companionship during these challenging years.
Because of the continuing Covid pandemic, a Catholic Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Divine Mercy Church in Peterborough, at the family’s convenience. However, the Mass will be videoed and the webcast will be able to be viewed after April 29th on her obituary page here at www.cournoyerfh.com.
A Memorial Mass will be held for family and friends this summer, when travel is safer and weather allows for easier social distancing. There will be no calling hours.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Alice’s name to The Dublin Woman’s Club, PO Box 121, Dublin, NH 03444; or the Jaffrey Kitty Rescue and Adoption, PO Box 468, Jaffrey, NH 03452; or to a charity of your choice.