Former P.E.I. MLA and businessman dies

Teresa Wright
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Dr. David McKenna

Former P.E.I. MLA and optometrist David McKenna has died.

He was travelling abroad, visiting his daughter, when his death occurred. It is being described as "very sudden."

He was 57.

“We’re going to miss him,” his brother, Peter McKenna, said.

“He was a great family person to his wife and three kids and he’s going to be missed by his community, and in his business.”

McKenna owned and operated the Family Vision Centre for the last 32 years.

He served as a backbench MLA as part of Pat Binns’s Progressive Conservative government from 2003-2007.

He was also active in the community, performing volunteer work with organizations such as the P.E.I. Association of Optometrists and the UPEI Board of Governors.

He served as chairman of the College of Optometry and was the P.E.I. representative of the Canadian Association of Optometrists and the Canadian Examiners of Optometry.

Most recently, he was serving as chair of the QEH Foundation board of directors.

“Our QEH Foundation family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our Chair, Dr. David McKenna,” says QEH Foundation CEO Barb Dunphy. “Dr. McKenna was committed to our Island hospital and instrumental in many successes we’ve seen over the years. On behalf of the entire board of directors, our sincere sympathies are extended to his entire family at this time.”

The Progressive Conservative Opposition caucus released a statement Thursday extending condolences to McKenna’s family and friends.

“To David’s family - his wife Ann, daughters Monica, Emily and Bridget, parents Terrance and Margaret, and many siblings, we extend our deepest sympathies,” Interim PC Leader Steven Myers said. 

“David was a well-respected community leader, savvy businessman and dedicated PC Party member. His contributions to our party and our province were immense and will be greatly missed."

Premier Robert Ghiz said Thursday he too learned of McKenna’s passing with sadness.

“David contributed greatly to society through business and as an active member in many professional and community organizations,” Ghiz said.

“On behalf of all Islanders, I want to pass along my sincere sympathies to Dr. McKenna’s family, friends and colleagues.”

NDP Leader Mike Redmond extended “heartfelt condolences to David’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“He was a dedicated community volunteer and was devoted to his clients and his business. He made significant contributions to Island life during his time as a member of the legislative assembly.”

Independent MLA Olive Crane shared an office with McKenna after she won her seat in a by-election in 2006.

She said she is shocked and saddened.

“David was always a family person and he loved his wife dearly and his three girls. They always came first in his life,” Crane said.

“He was also someone that was very passionate about the community that he lived in and also his church and the province. He was just somebody that tried to make a difference.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been released.

Organizations: College of Optometry, The Guardian, Family Vision Centre P.E.I. Association of Optometrists UPEI Board of Governors Canadian Association of Optometrists QEH Foundation PC Caucus PC Party

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Recent comments

  • w kennedy
    March 25, 2014 - 00:23

    to learn from these things I like to know where and how they happen so it isn't entirely in vain

  • Dianne & Gerard Gill
    March 24, 2014 - 18:27

    so sorry to hear of David`s sudden death, our sympathy to Anne, and there three children, Terrance , Peggy and David`s brothers and sisters, David will be missed by all

  • Dianne & Gerard Gill
    March 24, 2014 - 17:01

    so sorry to hear of David`s death, to young to leave this world, he was my eye Dr. for years , always got caught up on the news of the country, our sympathy to Anne , his three girls, also to his mom, dad , brothers and sisters , God bless you all

  • Dr Cheryl Wenn
    March 23, 2014 - 11:50

    Dear Ann, I, as I'm sure you are as well, am so shocked and saddened to hear of David's passing. He was such a gentle soul and we always had good chats about our families when I was in for my eye examinations. You both were so good with my David. He will be greatly missed. My heart is heavy for you and the girls.

  • Dianne and Ray Wenn
    March 23, 2014 - 11:47

    Dear Ann, Ray and I were shocked and saddened to learn of David's death. Our thoughts will be with you and your family during this time of grief and mourning. We will both miss David as our eye Dr. and as a friend. Dianne and Ray

  • Carol Cook
    March 22, 2014 - 22:19

    Dear Ann, I am so sorry for your loss, my heartfelt sympathies to you and your girls during this difficult time. My memory of David is that he was always a very friendly and happy man. Sincerely Carol

  • Chelsey Armstrong
    March 21, 2014 - 20:17

    I am so sad to learn of the passing of Dr. McKenna. He was my optometrist growing up and I remember thinking how kind and caring he was. Always smiling. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. May you find comfort in remembering all the good times. A quote that helped me when my Dad passed away suddenly is, "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." - Winnie the Pooh. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. -Chelsey Armstrong (Calgary, AB)

  • Peter Ruttgaizer
    March 21, 2014 - 18:31

    Lori and I saw David just a few weeks ago at a UPEI hockey game. As always he was his friendly self. What a fantastic guy! We are shocked and saddened by his passing. If there is a silver lining, it's the fact that he had a positive effect on so many people and because of that he will never be forgotten. Love to Ann and his girls. RIP

  • Toby Mandelman
    March 21, 2014 - 10:35

    I too was shocked to hear about David's death. He left us much too early and will be dearly missed. My sincerest condolences to his family.

  • Wayne Phelan
    March 21, 2014 - 08:02

    My condolences to David's wife and kids as well as his parents and siblings. A good man went way too early.

  • David Ing
    March 21, 2014 - 05:40

    We were shocked and saddened to hear of David's passing. He was a fine gentleman. My deepest sympathy to his family and all who knew him.

  • gail macdonald
    March 21, 2014 - 01:28

    David Mackenna will certainly be missed.He was a great guy.He was someone that wanted to make a differences.NO Matter where he met anyone,he always greeted them with a smile.My deepest sympathy goes out to his family.

  • Derrik Stevenson
    March 20, 2014 - 23:04

    My deepest sympathy to all the Mckenna family.I had him as my eye Dr.and Know his brothers. Great people..Such a loss to our Island community...

  • Anne Morrison
    March 20, 2014 - 22:12

    David will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. He left this world a better place for his being here. Sincere sympathy to Ann and the girls as well as to his mom and dad and siblings. May he rest in peace.

  • Eileen Grant Mason
    March 20, 2014 - 22:12

    So very sorry to hear of David's sudden passing. I, my husband, Kirk ,and our sons, Ian and Brendan, send our deepest sympathy to his wife, Ann and their family. Also to Terrence and Peggy and their family.

  • Art & Tammy Burke
    March 20, 2014 - 21:20

    Thoughts and Prayers to family and friends

  • Faye & Ian MacLeod
    March 20, 2014 - 20:37

    We are both very sorry to hear of the sudden death of Dr. Peter McKenna. We will remember him as a very caring Doctor, who was so friendly, and always had that pleasant smile, when ever you met him. RIP, David

    • Faye & Ian MacLeod
      March 22, 2014 - 08:37

      We are both very sorry to hear of the sudden death of Dr. David McKenna. We will remember him, as a very caring Doctor, who was so friendly, and always had that pleasant smile, whenever you met him. RIP, David

  • Bernie Lamphier
    March 20, 2014 - 20:27

    My sincere sympathy to Dave's family---very shocked and saddened to hear the bad news. Dave will be greatly missed by all who knew him!!!

  • Alan & Maureen Callaghan
    March 20, 2014 - 18:32

    Our condolences to Ann,Monica,Emily and Bridget,and the Mckenna family.Also condolences to The Family Vision Centre family. Dave was such a great guy,he contributed so much to Stratford and to our little optical community here on PEI. May the perpetual light shine upon him.God bless him.

  • Alyssa A.
    March 20, 2014 - 14:53

    I am shocked and saddened to hear about Dr. McKenna's sudden passing. What a great man and a great doctor. My prayers go out to his family.