FORT WORTH, Texas – James Vernon McKay. M.D., 97, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Monday, April 14, 2014.
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Services will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, at Biggers Funeral Chapel in Lake Worth, Texas. Interment will follow at Lamesa Memorial Park Cemetery in Lamesa, Texas.
Memorials may be made to the Joshua Parrish McKay Memorial Mission Fund, Mississippi Baptist Foundation, P.O. Box 530, Jackson, MS 39205.
Dr. Vernon McKay was born July 18, 1916, in Humble, Texas, to Nye Ross McKay and Leta Mae Slagle. He graduated salutatorian from Humble High School in 1934. Following high school he worked as a clerk at the Armour Fertilizer Works in Houston where he learned a desk job was not for him. He decided to follow his dream of becoming a doctor. With sheer determination, hard work, and little financial support, he worked his way through pre-med classes at Texas Tech University and medical school. He graduated in December 1942 from The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. He completed his internship and residency in medicine at Parkland Hospital, Dallas. As a medical student he met and married the love of his life, Jane Lenoir Cleveland. She graduated from UTMB Galveston as an RN. They were married 51 years.
Dr. McKay was commissioned in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and served in combat on the front lines in some of the bloodiest battles of WWII as the battalion surgeon of the 70th Infantry Division, 3rd Battalion, 276th Regiment in France and Germany until V.E. Day. He was awarded two Bronze Stars and served in the Army of Occupation until August 1945.
Following the war Dr. and Mrs. McKay settled in Lamesa, Texas, where he partnered with Dr. Sam Frazier, a major influence and mentor. Along with his colleagues, Dr. McKay built a family medical clinic and in 1959 helped guide the building of the first Dawson County Medical Hospital. Dr. McKay was a sterling diagnostician and surgeon before the availability of today's lab tests and modern equipment. As a small town doctor he performed abdominal surgery, orthopedic surgery, and delivered over 3,000 babies. As a doctor on call at all hours, he treated many patients that were victims of oil field and farming accidents.
Dr. McKay loved traveling, snow skiing, and the annual summer vacation in the Airstream trailer to the national parks, Colorado Rockies and Canada. Dr. McKay kept himself in top physical condition, and he continued to snow ski until he was almost 90 years old. As a firm believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, ""Dedah"" enjoyed going to Sunday school, church, singing hymns, and is now enjoying his heavenly reward. In his later years he was a member of First Baptist Church, Aberdeen, where his son Roy was the Pastor. Dr. McKay was preceded in death by his wife, Jane McKay, his brother Harvey, his sister Helen, and his beloved grandson, Joshua Parrish McKay.
Survivors include Jim McKay DDS (Marcy) of Fort Worth; the Rev. Roy McKay (Marcia) of Aberdeen; and Marilynn Ormson (Roger) of Barron, Wis.; seven grandchildren, Julie Walker, James (Stephanie) Ormson of Barron, Wis.; Stacey (Dr. Steve) Wood of Weatherford, Texas; Teresa (Jon) Willis of Fort Worth; Dr. Reagann (Dr. Jon) McCreary of Southlake, Texas; Matthew (Hannah) McKay of Oklahoma City; and nine great-grandchildren.
Published in Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on Apr. 27, 2014