Ben Miller McKinney died peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.|
Ben was born on July 7, 1920, in Little Rock, Ark., son of native Texans Roy Leighton McKinney and Theda Munson McKinney. He is preceded in death by his parents, his four older brothers Munson, Leighton, Richard and Curtis, and his daughter Whitney McKinney Curtis.
Ben was raised and schooled in Little Rock and at Woodbury Forest School in Virginia. At Purdue University he graduated with a BS degree in mechanical engineering in 1943. After post graduate training at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, he served in World War II as a commander of an LCI. His ship was blown up at Anzio, and Ben was awarded a Purple Heart.
While on recuperative leave, Ben managed to convince Nancy Foreman of London, Ontario to marry him. Ben had been enthralled by Nancy since a chance meeting as teenagers on a northern Canadian lake. Ben returned to the war immediately after the wedding.
After the war, Ben pursued his mechanical engineering career, working in Winnipeg, Little Rock, and Toronto where he formed a firm affiliated with the Carrier Corporation. This career stretch was interrupted when he was called up to duty in the Korean War where he served as chief of staff to an LSMR squadron commander.
In 1957, he and Nancy moved to Denison, Texas, where he served for 20 years as the President of the Munson Realty Company and raised their four children Whitney Ann, Heather Harvey, Benjamin Mark and Munson Randolph. Ben was active in his community and church, serving two tenures as president of the Denison School Board, as a vestry member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, as a Rotary President and as the founder of the Real Estate Council of Texoma, just to name a few of his civic commitments.
In 1976 Ben retired from the Munson Realty, commissioned the building of a sailboat in Canada and went on a two year odyssey with Nancy, cruising the Great Lakes, going down the Mississippi and along the southern seaboard of the U.S. and into the Caribbean. Both hearty sailors and great hosts, this was only one of their many sailing adventures. Completing the trip, Ben and Nancy returned to Texas and settled in Sherman where they spent six months of every year. Every summer was spent at Merry Hill, their cottage on Lake Joseph, Muskoka, Ontario, the site of their first meeting.
Ben and Nancy celebrated 68 years of marriage with extraordinary vitality, joy and love. They traveled, entertained, and were ceaselessly supportive friends and parents. Ben was eternally young, always up for the next adventure, always ready with an open face and a willing ear. He will be remembered for his infectious laugh, big heart and keen mind.
He will be missed greatly by his children and their spouses: John Pomeroy of Austin, Texas, Kris Berry McKinney of Denison, Texas and Elizabeth Petticrew of West Vancouver, British Columbia, his grandchildren Scott McKinney and wife Casey of Golden, Colo., Margot McKinney Shaffer-Johnson and husband Dean Shaffer-Johnson of Greer, S.C., Hilary McKinney of Tulsa, Reid McKinney of Denver, Harrison McKinney and wife, Jenna of Manhattan, Kan., Anne McKinney of Greer, Malcolm McKinney and Hannah McKinney of West Vancouver, Isabelle Corbett of Washington, D.C., Whitney Corbett of San Francisco, Rebecca Pomeroy Shores and husband Drew of Durham, N.C., Mei Mei Newsome and husband Jim of Mendham, N.J., Alice Pomeroy and husband Dan Strickland of San Francisco and his great-grandchildren, Miller McKinney of Golden, and Riley and Molly Newsome of Mendham.
A service will be held at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Denison, Texas, at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 with a reception following in Kohfeldt Hall.
Published in The Herald Democrat from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2, 2012