Tributes paid to 105-year-old woman from Eastbourne: She was ‘a real character’

Tributes have been paid to a woman from Eastbourne who has died at the age of 105.

Joan McKenna was living at Hartfield House residential home when she died on Sunday (May 1).

Joan left school at the age of 14 and worked her way up the ladder at Sutton Laundry in London, before moving to a coffin lining factory also in London.

Family said, “She had many years of happy times there, with a strong social life.”

Harry, Joan and Pam SUS-220605-090626001

Joan married Mac McKenna in the 1930s but sadly lived as a widow for nearly 50 years due to Mac dying of cancer in 1974. The couple had no children but Joan was very close to her niece, Pam Pope.

Joan moved in with Pam and her husband Harry Pope in the late 1980s before the trio moving to Eastbourne in 2003.

Pam and Harry said, “Joan was a real character.

“Her husband worked in Churchill’s war office during WW2 as a maintenance person, she never knew when he would come home because of his irregular house and the calls of his job.

Tribute to Joan McKenna (photo from Harry Pope) SUS-220505-165126001

“In 2007 when 91 she travelled on her own to Australia to meet up with her sisters Barbara Davenport and Peg O’Hara, who emigrated to Canada at the end of WW2. The three sisters had a six-week holiday of a lifetime.

“When she was introduced to anyone, they were told ‘this is Aunty Joan’ – she was Aunty Joan to everyone.

“She survived two world wars, two major worldwide epidemics, and really was the last of her generation.”

Read more from Eastbourne:

Tribute to Joan McKenna (photo from Harry Pope) SUS-220505-165136001