Robert Ross McKee

Robert R. McKee, 90

Robert Ross McKee, of West Lafayette, formerly of Kentland, died on December 24, 2012, at University Place. He was born on June 26, 1922, in Watseka, Ill., to Fred W. and Robina Theobald McKee. He graduated from A.J. Kent High School and Purdue University; where he was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. Prior to graduation, Ross served as a B-24 pilot during World War II in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was stationed in Italy.

On December 15, 1946, he married Phyllis Ray of Tipton. They became the parents of three children. Ross spent his entire life as a farmer in Kentland and was the third generation to farm the land east of the Newton County Stone Quarry.

Commitment to his community was important: he served on the Board of Directors for the Kentland Bank, Elder in the Kentland Presbyterian Church, member of the Covenant Federated Church, member of the South Newton School Board, and member of the Newton County Soil Conservation Board. Ross served the State of Indiana on the State and National Soybean Boards and the Indiana State Fair Board.

He was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash Award for his service to the State of Indiana by Governor Otis Bowen.

Ross was known as a good listener who gave wise counsel to community organizations, friends and family. He was an innovator in agriculture and was often recognized for his contributions to farming. He served on various boards to promote Indiana industrial and agricultural products. Ross traveled all over the world, but his favorite place to visit was Scotland, home of his ancestors.

A Scotsman by nature and heritage, Ross never like being parted from his money, but he was known for his generosity to family and worthwhile causes. He was a founding member of the Newton Foundation; which awards scholarships to deserving South Newton students. After a stroke in 2004, Ross and Phyllis moved to University Place in West Lafayette where they enjoyed a new community.

Ross will be missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife Phyllis; three children: Linda, Robert and Kim and their spouses; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Ross will be interred in the community he loved, Kentland, Indiana.


Published in the Journal & Courier from Dec. 25 to Dec. 26, 2012