Robert "Bob" Smith McKee died at his home in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, the 5th of March, 2014. He was 92. |
Bob was born on the 31st of December, 1921, and grew up in Martin's Ferry, Ohio, or as he called it, "the home of Lou 'The Toe' Groza, Bill Mazeroski and William Dean Howells."
During World War II, he served in the United States Army, 411th Engineers Battalion, in the Pacific theater from 1942 until his honorable discharge with the rank of Sergeant on the 17th of December, 1945.
After his military service, Bob graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Bob took great pride in being an alumnus of UVa and was a member of the Thomas Jefferson Society. While attending UVa, Bob met Margaret "Peggy" McGinley of Wheeling, West Virginia, whom he married in 1949. Bob and Peggy quickly started a family in Wheeling but soon set off for Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1950 with three small boys, Patrick, David, and Robert, in tow, where he became the Chief Financial Officer of Lutcher S.A. Celulose e Papel, a paper company organized with an UVa classmate and friend. In 1953, Bob joined the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company (Transco) in their tax department and moved the family to Houston, Texas. Two girls, Catherine and Becky, and a boy, Phelps, followed. While working at Transco, Bob earned a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Houston in 1959 and became a member of the State Bar of Texas the same year. Bob's career progressed at Transco and he was promoted to Vice President and Treasurer of the company and retired in 1984 as Vice President, Financial Affairs.
Bob was an avid hunter but most enjoyed hunting ducks along Matagorda Bay with a regular group of companions with whom he built a houseboat, his weekend home during duck season. He had an affinity for languages and was fluent in Spanish and French and capable in Italian. Tennis was his other pastime, both playing and watching. He attended all four Grand Slam tournaments at least once. Before and after retirement, Bob and Peggy especially enjoyed travelling, going on at least two trips abroad every year for nearly 25 years, including five trips to Africa where he photographed wildlife. Planning and making the arrangements for their trips was as much a source of enjoyment for Bob as the trips themselves.
The family would like to acknowledge Bob's caregivers, Betty Horne and Andy Liwanag, who attended to his needs so carefully and compassionately. Betty and Andy, your efforts for Bob and us made the final days so much easier.
At a later date, the family is to gather for a private inurnment at Greenwood Cemetery in Wheeling, West Virginia.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be directed "In Memory of Robert S. McKee" to the McIntire School Foundation, McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400173, Charlottesville, VA, 22904-4173.
Bob had a full and rich life and said so in recent days. Though we mourn him, we are comforted that he was content.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Mar. 9, 2014