Welcome to the memorial page for

Shawn McKenna

July 15, 1955 ~ June 1, 2017 (age 61)

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Shawn McKenna, 61, of Bath Maine passed away at his home on Thursday, June 1st, after a long battle with cancer.  He is survived by the love of his life, Debra Colby of Bath, Maine, his three children, his oldest son Ryan, the love of his life, Daisy, his daughter Erin, the love of her life, Pedro and his youngest son Riley.  His brother Shane McKenna of Bath Maine, his sister-in-law Kari, two nephews, Wesley and Patrick McKenna and many beloved cousins and God children.  He is also survived by this two greatest joys, his grandsons Joseph McKenna, 2 and Colby Cruz, 1.  


While cancer is something that Shawn fought the good fight against, it did not win and it will not define him.  He started his full life out in the small, coastal town of Bath, Maine, where he met his high school sweetheart and with a first date set for Valentine's day of 1973, Debra Colby would forever change his life.  


As the President of the class of 1973 and a proud Morse High Shipbuilder, he would go on to the University of Maine where he would join the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity in 1974 as a Maine Alpha.  The University of Maine and SigEp would quickly become two constants that would not only shape his career, but impact the lives of his wife and children.  After becoming the President of the Sigma Phi Epsilon, Maine Alpha Chapter, he graduated from UMaine and married his love, Debra, in the winter of 1977.  He was then offered a job with SigEp to work for the national headquarters in Richmond, Virginia as a Regional Director.  He and Debra packed up and started the adventure that would last a life time. 

Though his full time employment with Sigma Phi Epsilon only lasted from 1977 to 1982, Shawn continued to serve the Fraternity and his brothers until his passing.  During his lifetime of commitment to Sigma Phi Epsilon, Shawn played key roles in numerous initiatives and projects that fundamentally reshaped the Fraternity experience for undergraduate brothers and alumni alike, not to mention local, regional and national staff.  Shawn played a key part in the development and implementation of the Balanced Man program; a program that transformed the very core of the Fraternity experience from the undergrad level up to the national Headquarters.  The Balanced Man Program is still in place and changing lives for the positive to this day. 

 Among various other committees and boards at Sigma Phi Epsilon, Shawn served 30+ years on the National Housing Corporation, including time as it’s Managing Director. While on the NHC, he was involved with numerous initiatives, the majority of which focused on improving the quality of life and quality of the brotherhood experience at the chapter level.

 His sustained, herculean efforts and volunteer work with the Fraternity at the local, regional and national levels throughout the country culminated in his being awarded the Fraternity’s most prestigious award, the Order of the Golden Heart (OGH) in 2007 and being elected to the National Board of Directors in 2009.


As his time with Sig Ep came to a close, he transitioned into a new role with Procter and Gamble as a Sales and Interim Brand Manager. While with P&G Shawn wrote a book "The Complete Guide to Regional Marketing".  After moving up through the ranks of P&G, Shawn seized the opportunity provided by the fall of Communism to be one of the first in the early wave of western Entrepreneurs leading the charge for capitalism behind the former Iron Curtain.  


With success in early ventures such as the Moscow Beach Club, a western-style gym and health club, and the steak house Uncle Guilly's, Shawn once again took the initiative and lead the way in bringing American Made, 1950's-style stainless steel diners from their manufacturing facility in Florida to the streets of Moscow, Russia.  These diners saw much success, and further expanded throughout Moscow, and opened locations in other emerging markets such as Cypress and South Africa.


But beyond all of his business success, outside of his family, the one passion that Shawn enjoyed throughout his life was the opportunity to convey his education and experience to the next generation of business students and budding entrepreneurs.  Shortly after beating-back cancer the first time, in 2013, Shawn again took the initiative and blazed the path for the first-ever course of study on Business Leadership as an adjunct-professor and lecturer.  This quickly grew into the University of Maine building a Leadership Minor around his Leadership Continuum.  


In 2015, Shawn segued his role as lecturer and adjunct-professor into a full-time Executive-in-Residence position instructing Marketing, Leadership, and starting a "train-the-trainer" course of study to on board two additional Adjunct Professors into the Leadership program at the University of Maine.


In addition to his exploits as a father, brother, leader, businessman, and teacher, Shawn managed to find the time to work closely with another one of his passions - Maine Small Businesses. Through his positions on many boards of directors, and actual full time work through some of the companies he was brought on board to assist, Shawn was able to save several businesses from the brink and grow and develop other already self-sufficient businesses into even more successful endeavors for all involved parties.


He will be missed dearly by all who came in contact with him. 


In lieu of flowers please donate to your local cancer charity or The University of Maine Foundation in memory of Shawn McKenna at:


Services for Shawn McKenna, visiting will be held on Friday, 4:00 – 6:00pm at the David E. Desmond & Son Funeral Home, 638 High Street, Bath. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 9:00am at All Saints Parish, St. Mary’s Church, Bath.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, June 11, 2017 at Hyde Mansion, Bath, Maine from 1:00 – 4:00pm



 Service Information

Time of Remembrance
June 9, 2017

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
David E. Desmond & Son Funeral Home
638 High Street
Bath, Me 04530

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial
June 10, 2017

9:00 AM
St. Mary's Catholic Church
144 Lincoln Street
Bath, Maine 04530

Celebration of Life
June 11, 2017

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Hyde School
616 High Street
Bath, Me 04530

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