CHARLESTON, IL – Willis E. “Mac” McKinney, Jr., age 87 of Charleston, passed away on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon. Services honoring and celebrating his life will be held at Noon on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at Adams Funeral Chapel in Charleston with Reverend Clyde Masten officiating. The noon services will begin with Masonic Rites conducted by members and guests of Charleston Masonic Lodge #35 A.F. & A.M. Interment with Military Rites conducted by the Honor Guard of the Charleston VFW Paul McVey Post 1592 will follow in Roselawn Cemetery, Charleston. Visitation for family and friends will be held Wednesday for one hour prior to the Services. It is requested that memorial gifts in his honor be made to the family in care of Brice McKinney. Gifts may be left on the memorial table at the visitation or service, or mailed to Adams Funeral Chapel,
Willis was born on June 1, 1925 in Charleston and was a son of the late Willis E. and Nellie A. (Ferris) McKinney, Sr. He married Marianne (Bower) Doyle on November 20, 1999 and she survives. He was previously married to Mildred (Dengler) Eckhart McKinney and Ann (Kennedy) McKinney, the mother his five children, Brice W. McKinney of Big Rock, Iowa, Bruce W. McKinney and wife Marguerite of Rochelle, Illinois, Dr. Brenda A. McKinney of Galena, Illinois, Bradley W. McKinney and wife Connie of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Bridget K. Martino and husband Vito of Western Springs, Illinois. He is also survived by two stepchildren and their families, Loren Craig Doyle of Tucson, Arizona and Eric Martin Doyle of Jeffersonton, Virginia; a sister, Joanne Brewer of Charleston; 14 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren and a great-great grandchild. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a brother, Howard McKinney and a grandchild.
Willis preferred to be known as “Mac” to his family and friends. He was a graduate of Charleston High School and furthered his education at Eastern Illinois State Teacher’s College. He proudly served his country during World War II with the Army Air Force serving in the China-Burma-India Theaters. He received both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education at the University of Illinois in Urbana and began his teaching career in the Mt. Auburn School District where he also served as a school administrator. He was also a teacher and a former elementary school principal in the Galena School System and retired from the education field after serving as Superintendent of Schools for the Stockton School District. He earned recognition as the Illinois Star Farmer Teacher of the year in 1955. He later served as Division Manager for Tri-State Tours for the Iowa-Illinois region and served as a counselor for Iowa Community College for four summers.
Mac was a devoted member of First Baptist Church in Mattoon. He was a Life Member of the Charleston VFW Paul McVey Post 1592 and the Springfield American Legion. He was also a member of the Charleston Masonic Lodge #35 A.F. & A.M. for more than fifty years and a member of the Valley of Danville Scottish Rite. Mac was also a member of the Coles County Retired Teachers Association and the U of I Alumni Club (Alpha Tau Alpha).
Mac was devoted in his career choice as an educator. He dearly loved his family and cherished his role as a father and grandfather. He will be missed by his family and friends.
Click here to view Mac's memorial video.