Robert Riggs McKay|
1920 - 2013
Robert Riggs McKay, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully at home on May 11, 2013.
Bob was born on September 4, 1920, in Ogden, Utah, to President David O. and Emma Ray Riggs McKay, the youngest of seven children. Young Bobby spent his early years in London, England, where his father presided over the European Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in Huntsville, Utah.
Bob attended West High School where he was voted Senior Class President and lettered in basketball and track. He then went to the University of Utah where he graduated in speech with a minor in English. He served as president of the Associated Men's Students, president of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, president of Theta Alpha Phi National Drama Fraternity, and the national president of Intercollegiate Knights National Service Fraternity. He was a member of the Owl and Key Honor Society, acted in several theatrical productions at Kingsbury Hall, and spent a summer in Canada attending the Banff School of Fine Arts. He especially loved the months he spent working in Yellowstone National Park with his brother, Edward, during his college years.
After graduating from the University of Utah, Bob served an honorable thirty-month mission for the LDS Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was a dedicated missionary who treasured the lifelong friendships he made in Argentina. He also loved speaking Spanish for the rest of his life. Upon completing his mission, Bob served his country in the United States Army during World War II. He was stationed with the 180th Medical Control Unit in Okinawa and Korea.
Bob married his sweetheart, Frances Ellen Anderson, in 1946. She has almost forgiven him for arriving thirty minutes late to the temple because he was buying a car for the honeymoon. President McKay, a counselor in the First Presidency at the time, sealed the couple for time and eternity in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Bob's quick wit and optimism, and Frances Ellen's accompanying sense of humor made for a happy sixty-seven year marriage.
Bob was absolutely devoted to his family and they lovingly dubbed him "Daddy Bob." Daddy Bob constantly treated his family to Snelgrove's chocolate malts, ensured they had a never-ending supply of Cummings Chocolates, and occasionally (but not often) let them win a hand of the family card game, Pirate Rook. Daddy Bob made holidays especially memorable. For instance, every Easter, Daddy Bob created treasure hunts with clever poetic clues that sent his children and grandchildren all through his home and backyard, his horse stables, and meaningful places throughout the city to find more clues, candy, and treasure. Daddy Bob lived to make his family happy.
Bob was deeply devoted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served for ten years in the presidency of the Temple Square Mission with President Richard L. Evans and Marion D. Hanks. He served for several years in church callings, including service in the stake high counsel and stake presidency. He served as a counselor in four bishoprics, and served for many years as a Sunday School and Gospel Doctrine teacher.
Bob and Frances Ellen opened, owned, and operated McKay Jewelry Company for 62 years. It became an establishment on Main Street in Salt Lake City. Bob's integrity endeared his customers to him for generations. In fact, many of his customers at the end of his career were the grandchildren of the customers he assisted in the beginning of his career. Bob was unceasingly cheerful; a couple once walked into McKay Diamonds just because, in the husband's words, "he wanted to show his wife a happy man."
Bob loved animals of all kinds, but he especially loved Arabian horses. He and Frances Ellen founded the Diamond M Arabian horse ranch. Showing and breeding fine Arabian horses became the ultimate family dream. Though the Diamond M had humble beginnings - the McKays were thrilled at their first horse show when their horse won third place . . . out of three horses - their Arabians eventually won many awards at the regional and national level.
In addition to being an active member of the Utah Arabian Horse Club, other civic involvement included membership and service as president of the Sugarhouse Rotary.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his four brothers, and his two sisters. He is survived by his wife, Frances Ellen; his children, Marianne, David (Nancy), Suzanne, and Robert (Cynthia); his eight grandchildren, Robert Cox, Scott (Jessica), Heather (Robb), Michael (Melanie), Melanie (Troy), Jeffrey, Christina (Haloti), and Robert McKay; and his fifteen great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Friday, May 17 at 12:00 noon at the Garden Heights Ward Chapel, 2220 East Fisher Lane (2935 South), where friends may call from 10:45 to 11:45 A.M. before the services. There will be a viewing on Thursday, May 16, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South. Interment at Salt Lake City Cemetery, 200 "N" Street.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from May 14 to May 16, 2013