LAKELAND - Leo Edward McKee, of Lakeland, passed away on Thursday, January 3, 2013 from cancer. He was 80.
Born in Altoona, Pa. on Nov. 17, 1932 to Theodore and Marguerite "Peggy" McKee, he had four sisters: Irene, Marjorie, Annie and Gloria and five brothers: Bob, Jim, Ed, Jack and Barry. He served in the Navy on the USS Oriskany during the Korean Conflict.
A trained typesetter and printer, he was employed at the Providence (R.I.) Journal before coming to Florida in 1976, where he owned and operated McKee's Motel in Dade City.
He moved to Lakeland in 1980 and became a well-known citrus vendor at area flea markets, especially his favorites: the Silver Moon and Webster Farmers' Market. His white "heavy Chevy" was also a familiar site at local shelters where he was known for feeding the homeless - particularly those who chose to opt out of the system and live in the open, often providing him with "hot tips" to play at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, where his poker-hand suspenders were always a welcome sight.
Mr. McKee is survived by five children: Rebecca, Pamela, and Patricia of Lakeland, Kathleen of Winter Haven, and Craig of Hong Kong, China, whom he always encouraged to "bet it all!" He took particular delight in his three grandsons, Andrew, Paul and Thomas, as well as his great-granddaughter Lillian-Marie, all of North Carolina.
Following cremation, a private internment ceremony will take place at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida. In lieu of flowers, Mr. McKee and his family request a simple act of anonymous kindness to the person or
Published in Ledger from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8, 2013