The Curry Coastal Pilot

Robert George "Bob" McKenna passed away serenely in the company of his loving wife and devoted daughters on July 12, 2012.

He was born on Jan. 10, 1934, in Holyoke, Mass., to Grace Marion McGrath and George F. McKenna. His father passed away when Bob was 11. He graduated from Joseph Metcalf Junior High School and Holyoke Trade High School.

Bob enlisted in the Air Corps N.Y. and was based at Mather Air Force Base in California. He was discharged from active duty and headed back east to care for his mother until her death. Bob then moved out west and continued his beloved trade of auto mechanics.

Bob married Heidi J. VandenAkker after he settled in Sacramento. He then moved to Lake Tahoe where he owned and operated Bob's Auto Clinic. He was involved in politics and even ran for Sheriff of Douglas County, Nev. In the mid-1970s Bob and his family moved from Lake Tahoe to Oregon. The family was park host for Oregon State Parks, and his two younger children were home schooled during that time.

Bob was a devout Christian who instilled values in his children, taught them how to fix things, and how to live the "simple life." He even taught the family how to rebuild a school bus into a motor home, which they lived in. In 1977, Bob moved to Harbor and opened BandJ's Auto Repair in the building next to Hanscam's store. Bob would teach the children the "trade" in the after school hours.

Bob was well known around the Brookings-Harbor area as a listener, storyteller, friend, alliance, confidant, and so much more to many people. He cherished politics and helped many campaigns. As a devoted 50-plus year "veteran" recovering alcoholic, he established the first AA meetings in the area, which continue to the present day. He was a sponsor and friend to many. He volunteered for the Harbor Fire Department and was the "burn permit guy" until his retirement. He supported and generously gave his time to any cause he felt supported the "small guy."

After he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's many years ago, he "officially" retired and concentrated on spending quality time with the family, including his children and grandchildren. His main focus was family and it showed in the way Bob cared for and cherished them. His wife and daughter Johanna took up caring for him until his death.

Bob is survived by his wife of 42 years, Adelheid (Heidi); daughter, son-in-law and their children Johanna, Jason, Samuel and Seth Broberg, all of Harbor; son and daughter-in-law Robert and Erin McKenna of Alameda, Calif.; daughter Janet Grace Mitchel of Portland; son Chris McKenna of Los Angeles; brother Richard McKenna and sister Marian Tyburski both of Massachusetts; sister-in-law Ellen Ingram of Greenbrae, Calif; and brother-in-law Cor VandenAkker of Holland.

He was preceded in death by his father, mother and daughter Prudy.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on July 28, 2012, at Redwood Memorial Chapel, 1020 Fifield Street in Brookings. Burial at sea will be performed by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Condolences may be expressed online at

Submitted by Heidi

McKenna and family