Mr. James Joseph McKenna

July 3, 1934May 3, 2021

In Loving Memory

James J. McKenna died this morning just two (2) months short of his 87th birthday in Toronto, Canada. Jim McKenna was one of the early leaders that built Kenscott Ltd. and BDI Canada. The strong work ethic and leadership of Jim McKenna contributed to the growth and success of BDI and our industry in every part of the world.

Jim McKenna was born on July 3, 1934 in Bellshills, Scotland-just outside of Glasgow. He emigrated to Canada in 1964. The afternoon of the day he landed in Toronto, he was hired by Leach Scott, the founder of Kenscott, as an inventory clerk. Within a few weeks he was promoted to sales as the Dow Corning specialist. Jim McKenna advanced quickly through many positions at Kenscott as Kenscott grew to the dominant distributor in Ontario. One of the many natural talents of Jim McKenna was his continuous curiosity. That curiosity opened many of the businesses BDI continues to service to this day. He started the steel industry servicing both Dofasco and US Steel in Hamilton, Ontario. He participated in the development of the marine business on the Great Lakes-and overseas. He developed the differential drive solutions for the flour milling industry that became branded as Jaymark that continues to today. Serving in operations, early computer systems, inside sales, outside sales, branch manager and Vice President-Jim McKenna started business in automotive, brewing, steel, mining, food processing, maritime and most all other customer industry segments that we work in at BDI.

Jim continued to work for BDI following his retirement alongside Zoltan Arkovics and Milos Kysel in Europe and Jun Wang in China. Our EBC brand was created by Jim McKenna and Jun Wang traveling throughout China vetting out quality manufacturers of a variety of products. And well into his eighties Jim McKenna managed all of the BDI trademarks around the world. He was knowledgeable in not only industry-but also science, the arts, literature, history, government, construction and economics. He was a focused and unrelenting; staying with any project until completed, large or small. Jim McKenna was an active listener which enabled his strong opinions to find compromise He was always, closing.

Lea Galido has worked with most everyone at Kenscott and BDI remembers Jim:

I describe Jim as someone who is kind and always thinks about other people’s feelings as thoughtful or considerate. A hard worker, someone who has a sharp memory and always has time to talk to you no matter how busy he is.

Jim McKenna worked with at least three (3) generations of colleagues at both Kenscott and BDI-including alongside his daughter Alison McKenna. Jim leaves his wife Maureen, his son, David, his daughter Alison, his grandchildren Callan and Ruby and his brother Arthur. He will be sadly missed by his many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and all of us.

Due to Covid-19 the services will be private. Cremation has taken place and Jim can now spend all of his time at his beloved cottage where he will long be remembered.

Donation in memory of Jim can be made to: Hill House Hospice Jumpstart Canada - Canadian Cancer Society


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Mr. James Joseph McKenna

have a memory or condolence to add?

Bob Palmer

May 10, 2021

Dear Maureen and Family

Our thoughts are with you all. Jim was a part of our lives for over five decades. Lots of fun and good memories of the early Kenscott years.
Jim never missed a chance to ask about Paul and Donna, we really appreciated that about him.
Take Care
Bob and Carol Palmer

Allison Vucurevich (Boyes)

May 9, 2021

Thoughts and prayers to all of you. I have many memories of trips to Ontario for visits and listening to my Dad tell stories of when he, Jim and Artie were young lads, they were more like brothers than cousins. We are forever thankful for Uncle Jim and Aunt Maureen making the trip to Lethbridge when Dad Passed. Thinking of you all and knowing Dad and Uncle Jimmy will be having a laugh in Heaven.

Maggie Webber

May 8, 2021

It is almost impossible to summarize why the loss of Jim means so much to so many of us. He interacted with people in so many spheres of life..His work ethic and engineering skills were outstanding and his enquiring mind never ceased to be fascinated by the world around him.
He had a wicked sense of humour and and his and Maureen’s hospitality was legendary in Ancaster. He was my husband’s closest friend for many years and our whole family will miss him.
Sending love and thanks for a life well lived
Maggie Webber

Dan and Glenys Wright

May 4, 2021

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our cousin James. Our deepest sympathy to Maureen, and family. It is our prayer that God will comfort you during this sad time. We have wonderful memories.
Glenys and Danny.

Margaret and John Flynn

May 4, 2021

We are so sorry for your loss. Jim was a big personality and will be missed by all those who knew him. May he rest in peace now.
You are all in our thoughts and prayers as you deal with this new reality. Please remember we are here if there is any way we can be helpful. Love to you all. John and Marg