Vernon Center-JoAnn (Travis) McKenney-Merry, 72, of Vernon Center, passed away unexpectedly on November 1, 2019 at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Utica. JoAnn leaves behind her husband, Thomas Merry, children, Peter T. McKenney, Kathleen Weber and Meghan McKenney, her equally loved step-children and children-in-law, Nicole, Michael, Brian and Kristina Merry, Alice McKenney, Thomas Weber and Stephanie Allmon-Merry, grandchildren Peter, Jack and Juliet Weber, and Evelyn and Luke McKenney, sister-in-law Grace Travis and numerous beloved half-siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and friends from her greatly extended family.
JoAnn was predeceased by her daughter, Karen Kretzer, beloved first husband, Peter V. McKenney, mother, Evelyn (Farnholtz) Travis, father, Kenneth Travis, brother, Robert Travis and, niece, Tanya Travis.
JoAnn was born at Little Falls Hospital on July 8, 1947. JoAnn graduated from Little Falls High School in 1965. She worked for New York State as a lifeguard and as a school bus driver in Whitesboro and married Peter V. McKenney of Utica in 1974. They had three children together before Peter's sudden death in 1987.
JoAnn persevered after the loss of her husband and, with the help of her extended family, raised her three children and graduated with high honors from Herkimer County Community College and Utica College with a bachelor's degree in Economic Crime Investigation. She worked the rest of her career at the Herkimer County Department of Child Protective Services and New York State Department of Labor.
In 1992, JoAnn met and fell in love with Thomas Merry and became step-mother to his four children. The two families combined and built a life together at their house on Third Street in Ilion, and later on Potash Hill Road in Vernon Center.
JoAnn inherited a love for the holidays from her mother. She was an enthusiastic participant at Thanksgiving in Croghan with the Merrys. Her Christmases were filled with decorations, cookies and gifts for everyone. She loved to travel and experience new things, and cherished her annual trips to camp on Kayuta Lake. She treasured her Wednesdays with The Girls and recently developed a passion for scrapbooking and card making.
The McKenneys, Webers, Merrys and Travises are in mourning. Our holidays will be a bit less festive, and void of dropped dishes and profanity emanating from the kitchen. We have lost so much with JoAnn's passing, but we know that the best way to honor her life will be to come together, raise a glass, reminisce and enjoy our time together.
Calling hours will be on November 7, 2019 from 3-5pm at Malecki Funeral Home, 23 Front Street, Vernon, NY. A memorial service will immediately follow at 5pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Tanya Travis Memorial Nursing Scholarship at Central Valley School District (cvalleycsd.org).
JoAnn's family greatly appreciates the love and support that they have received during this very difficult time.
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