Mary Rita (Doyle) McKenney, 80, of New Milford, formerly of New Fairfield died Oct. 22, 2010, at Danbury Hospital surrounded by her family. She was the widow of James J. McKenney, to whom she married in 1952.

Mrs. McKenney was born Nov. 21, 1929, in Hartford, to Mary Roberta McCormick and Edmond B. Doyle.

Mrs. McKenney graduated from Wethersfield High School. In 1946, the Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored her to Girls State.

She attended numerous school reunions -- from Rawson Elementary School in Hartford to her 50th UConn reunion in 2002.

Mrs. McKenney's nursing training was a highlight of her life. She graduated from the University of Connecticut's School of Nursing in 1952 and worked at Yale-New Haven, Windham Community and Danbury hospitals.

Employed by the Brookfield School System for 23 years, she began work as a school nurse and later became home and school coordinator.

She eagerly looked forward to monthly retiree luncheons with her Brookfield colleagues.

In her younger years, she was an avid Girl Scout, having been a Brownie, Mariner, Junior and Cadet. She later became a troop leader during the 1960s when her daughters were involved in scouting. She became New Fairfield's first neighborhood chairman.

Mrs. McKenney loved raising her family in New Fairfield.

She was a former member and past president of the Townland Club, promoting small town friendliness and welcoming new residents, and a former member of the St. Edward's Ladies Guild.

After retirement, she enjoyed attending New Fairfield's Senior Center and The Red Hat Society.

Mrs. McKenney loved the ocean, valued her memories of family times in Old Lyme Shores, Madison, Mattunick and Martha's Vineyard, and spent many summers camping at Hammonasset State Park.

This past year, she moved from Candlewood Isle, where she and Jim settled in the late 1950s to raise their family, to a new home at Chestnut Grove in New Milford.

Despite health challenges in the last few years, she never complained and remained a fixture at family gatherings and celebrations.

She was known for her blue eyes, welcoming smile, love of life and people, independent spirit and collection of hats.

Mrs. McKenney is survived by a sister, Frances "Pinky" Doyle, of West Hartford; a brother, Edmond Doyle, of Glastonbury; a sister, Sheilah Herchig, of Jacksonville, Fla.; her children, Mary Rita "Twink" McKenney, and her husband, Kevin Hanlon, of Southbury, Julianne McKenney, and her husband, Frederick Shaffer, of Reading, Mass., Patricia Silva, and her husband, Timothy, of New Fairfield, Eileen McKenney, of Squantum, Mass., and Tara Bass, and her husband, Marc Bradley, of New Fairfield; six grandchildren, Chloe Eileen Bass, Marc B. Bass II, Lily Rose Shaffer, Nathaniel Philip Shaffer, T.J. Silva and Joey Silva; many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and nephews; and many friends who became like family. In addition to her husband of 52 years, she was predeceased by a son, James J. McKenney Jr., and two sisters, Ann D. Flannigan and Joan Doyle.

Memorials may be made to the University of Connecticut School of Nursing, Center for Nursing Scholarship, Storrs Hall, Room 201, 231 Glenbrook Road, Unit 2026, Storrs, CT 06269-2026.

The Green Funeral Home of Danbury was in charge of arrangements.