Former P.E.I. MLA and businessman dies

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 20, 2014
Dr. David McKenna
UPEI

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.