Steve McKee
Joseph G. Duffy
255 Ninth Street
Brooklyn, NY
TROY, NY Steve McKee, a journalist and the author of a memoir about living in the shadow of family heart disease, died on Monday at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. He was 61 and lived in Troy, N.Y. The cause of death was complications following surgery to repair a torn aorta. McKee was 16 when, at home in York, Pa., one night in 1969, he watched his 50-year-old father suffer a fatal heart attack. The tragedy propelled McKee to devote himself to staying in shape. He ran a marathon in Alaska, completed a triathlon in New York, and lifted weights and pulled on a rowing machine for hours on end. McKee first wrote about his lifelong effort to avoid his father's fate in The Wall Street Journal, where he worked as a copy editor for more than a decade. His stories received an outpouring of response, and McKee followed with a book, My Father's Heart: A Son's Journey (Da Capo Press, 2008). Despite his best efforts, McKee was told after an extensive physical in 2005 that he, too, had heart disease. "It was devastating, absolutely devastating, because I never ever thought this was going to happen because I had spent all those years keeping myself in good to very good shape," McKee said in a 2008 interview on NPR. "It took a while for me to realize that, no, even if I have heart disease I am not like that part of my father I didn't want to be," he said. "My dad, I felt, gave up. I had always fought against it. That is his legacy to meI have always fought against it." After the publication of My Father's Heart, McKee spoke to numerous health-care organizations about cardiovascular disease. He also wrote a one-man play based on the book, which was performed in workshops in Pennsylvania. Stephen J. McKee was born in Ridgewood, N.J., on Nov. 17, 1952, and raised in York. He graduated from Allentown College of St. Francis DeSales (now DeSales University) in Allentown, Pa., and spent six years in Alaska, first with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps teaching at a native boarding school in the Alaskan bush, and later working and studying in Fairbanks. McKee's first book, The Call of the Game, (McGraw-Hill, 1987), described his year-long odyssey attending more than 50 sporting events, from the Continental Team Tiddlywinks Championships to the Super Bowl. For Coach (Stackpole Books, 1994), an oral history of the profession, McKee interviewed hundreds of coaches in dozens of sports at all levels. McKee joined the The Wall Street Journal as a copy editor in 1994. He was the first sports editor of the paper's Weekend Journal section and in 2001 was the first writer of its online sports column, "The Daily Fix." He is survived by his wife, Noreen; their son, Patrick, also of Troy; and a sister, Kathleen McKee Hansen of Punta Gorda, Fla. Visitation will be held at the Joseph G. Duffy Funeral Home, Brooklyn, N.Y., from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 4th, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at the Oratory Church of St. Boniface at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 5th. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Albany Medical Center Foundation, 43 New Scotland Avenue, Mail Code 119, Albany, NY, 11208. In My Father's Heart, McKee wrote movingly about his personal genetic fate, but also about the cardiovascular health-care crisis facing millions of Americans and the need for individuals and institutions to do something about it. "Every day, nearly 2,400 Americans die of cardiovascular disease's major heart breakers," he wrote. "That's one death every 36 seconds. If we could wave a magic wand and eliminate this scourge, we could all expect to live nearly seven years longer. If only."
Published by York Daily Record on Apr. 4, 2014.
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29 Entries
We went to college with Steve and are so sad to hear he is gone. He did so much with his time on earth. Rest in peace Steve.
Len and Eileen Truchan
December 26, 2014
Noreen, I reached out to Steve after seeing him on the Today Show talking about MFH. I invited him to come and speak at our community hospital and later at the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association national meeting. He made a lasting impression on all of us. I considered Steve a friend,and I am so sorry I did not know of his illness and death until now. My deepest sympathies.
Suzy Hughes
July 13, 2014
Noreen, you may not remember me, but we were friends in High School. I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. Beth McNeill Rountree
June 10, 2014
I am going on line today to finally made a donation to Albany Medical Center in Steve's name. Dear Noreen and Patrick, it was the greatest honor to be part of Steve's funeral and the celebration of his life. We hold you in our hearts every day. He was an amazing guy and touched us all. We miss him and miss you. love, Claire and Murph
May 6, 2014
My sincerest sympathies. I am Steve's cousin but never met him. Steve interviewed my Aunt Myra Howley at the 'Mckee' family home in Scranton, Pa. when he was writing his book. Two weeks ago I started researching my family tree and knew I could find some answers in his book- my father died of a heart attack when he was 67 and I was 30. I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn now and would have went to the viewing if I had known but strange enough was driving to Killington, ski last Thursday and got lost in Troy, NY. I had met Steve's Aunt Alice and Mary Jane as a child. I wish I had gotten to know Steve. Take care. Christa O'Malley Horrigan
April 10, 2014
My sincere sympathy and prayers go to Noreen and Patrick. May God bless you both.
Carolanne Doersam Katherman
April 7, 2014
Steve McKee was a sincere, and genuine friend to our entire family.
He has left an indelible
and positive legacy that will always stay with us!
Our sincerest condolences go out to Noreen, and Patrick.
Greg & Diane Anstett
April 7, 2014
When he was with you the world just seemed happier and more secure. Impossible not to smile with Steve. Concerned about his heart?... he was one of the greatest hearts I've known. My prayers are with you Noreen, Patrick and Kathy.
Jack Geagan
April 6, 2014
Our sincere simpathy.
Acacia &Paul Komelasky
April 5, 2014
Noreen, Patrick and Kathy,So sorry for the loss of Steve. I feel like I knew him my whole life. He brought great energy everywhere he went...from Haines Acres to Alaska to Brooklyn and in between. Since my mother couldn't read but loved to listen to books on tape. I found a recording studio near my house and recorded his book My Father's Heart and gave it to my mom so she listen to it on her cassette recorder. He will be missed.
Barb Flick-Chapman
April 5, 2014
My deepest sympathy to both of you, Noreen and Patrick. I truly enjoyed getting to know Steve while working as Dir. of Dev. at YC -as he graciously shared My Father's Heart with all of us. We watched with pride as he spoke on the Today show. I always looked forward to seeing him as he always had a smile and a friendly hello. He will truly be missed. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Barbara Pioli Bucher
April 5, 2014
Noreen, Patrick, and Kathy,
Sorry to hear of Steve's passing. He was a gentle giant who touched many lives in his lifetime. We were fortunate to have known him for a short while on earth. Looking forward to meeting up with him in the Kingdom someday. Know we are keeping you in thought and prayer. Patti & Terry Baughman
Patricia Baughman
April 5, 2014
You are in our thoughts and paryers Noreen and Patrick. Christne(Sowers) and Brian McGowan
April 4, 2014
Noreen and Patrick, Our prayers are with you. Steve was a inspiration to so many people. Brian and Christine McGowan
April 4, 2014
Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We're so sorry for your loss.
Fissinger-Mulcahy Family
April 4, 2014
My deepest sympathy to Noreen and Patrick on their loss. Steve was a great guy with a genuine interest in the well being of others.
Words cannot fill the void in your hearts. Please know you are all in my prayers.
Victoria Beckner
April 4, 2014
I am blown away by the passing of my good friend Steve. We had some great laughs and he will never be forgotten. I will miss him, but I'll carry my memory of times well spent with him forever. My condolences to his wife and son and the rest of the family. You will be in my prayers.
Conrad Kiffin
April 4, 2014
Our deepest sympathy to Steve's family. We all have such fond memories of Steve from our days at DeSales. He could always make us laugh. He will be missed
Steve an Jeannie Ivcic
April 4, 2014
With deepest sympathy to Steve's family. Steve had a larger then life personality! He will be greatly missed.
Sylvia McBrinn
April 4, 2014
Noreen and Patrick
My deepest sympathy to your family.
Steve and I went to grade school and high school together.
Gene Heiland
April 4, 2014
Noreen and Patrick I am sorry to hear of Steve's passing. We were classmates in grade school and high school.
My sympathies to you in this time of sadness.
April 4, 2014
My deepest sympathy to the McKee family. Steve was a high school upperclassman to me, and was as inspiring, kind and thoughtful then as his book memoirs are today. His memory lives on with me.
Joe Euculano
April 4, 2014
Rest in peace Steve.
Vera Wagman Peterson
April 4, 2014
Sad to hear of Steve's death. He was a great neighbor, and an incredibly nice man. Oh, and very very tall.
David & Ilene Jaroslaw
April 4, 2014
Our deepest sympathy to Noreen and Patrick. We were classmates of Steve's at York Catholic and St Joe's. Steve had a personality larger than life, we will cherish our memories of him.
Joan & Lee Bainbridge (York PA)
Joan Bainbridge
April 4, 2014
Having read "My Father's Heart", the news of Steve's passing was tragic. All my best for the family.
Joe Renda
April 4, 2014
Noreen and family, I am so sorry for your loss. Steve was a great man and friend during my high school years, God bless you all.
Aileen Larkin-Warner
April 4, 2014
Our thoughts are with the family and friends during this time.
Joseph G. Duffy Funeral Home
April 4, 2014
We are so sorry to read on line of Steve' death. Our deepest sympathy goes out to you, Patrick and Kathy. We're very sorry that we can't attend the service, but if you are ever in York, please stop to see us.
Barb & Tom Koscevic
April 3, 2014
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