Colonel James William MCKINNEY

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MCKINNEY, Colonel James WilliamDied peacefully at home with family and friends by his side on Tuesday, the 15th of January 2013. He is preceded in death by his parents, Mary Rose and Jim Will McKinney. Survived by his wife, Grayce McKinney of Nashville; daughter, Bridget McCraw (Jeff); grandchildren, Lexie, Ethan and Slade of Memphis; cousin, Karen Graham of Nashville. He attended Christ the King, The Cathedral of the Incarnation and Father Ryan High School where he served as an altar boy from age 6-16. He went to the U.S. Marine Corps soon out of high school for a 3 year enlistment. He credited that experience with the discipline that set the tone for the rest of his life. After that, he went to Memphis State College on an Air Force ROTC scholarship where he graduated and received his initial USAF pilot training at Moody AFB, GA. His first Air Force assignment was flying C-124's world-wide. He then went to South East Asia where he accumulated 500 combat hours flying in Vietnam. It was there he flew the mission that earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Force Medal for Meritorious Achievement. Following two tours in S.E. Asia, he returned state-side as an instructor pilot at the Tennessee Air National Guard's 118th Airlift Wing. There he participated in Desert Storm/Shield, Relief/Hope in Somalia, and flew alongside the Russians in Bangladesh. He later served as the Squadron Commander of the 105th Airlift Sqd and Group Ops Commander of the 118th Airlift Wing. In addition to his Air Force career, as a commercial airline pilot, he flew the 747, DC-8, 727, 737, DC-9, F-100 and F-28 for Braniff, Piedmont and US Airways. At the time of his retirement he had accumulated over 20,000 hours of total flight time. After retirement, he worked as a volunteer for Crisis Hotline, American Red Cross, Cumberland Heights and patient-transporter for the American Cancer Society. The family extends their appreciation to his physicians, Dr. William Bounds, and Dr. William Pettus, Dr. Mark Miller, and Dr. Ron Pruitt for their kind and ceaseless care. A Celebration of Life will be at Twelve o'clock in the afternoon on the 25th of January 2013 at Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home. Visitation with the family and friends will be at the funeral home from ten o'clock in the morning until noon on the day of service at Marshall-Donnelly-Combs. Interment will be at the Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery, 7931 McCrory Lane at two o'clock in the afternoon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made in his honor to the Nashville Humane Society or the .


Published in The Tennessean from Jan. 20 to Jan. 23, 2013
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