September 8, 1928 - August 7, 2017
William Richard McKinley, 88, passed away peacefully on August 7 at Southminster retirement community in Charlotte. He was born on September 8, 1928 in Juniata, PA to Edward and Evangeline McKinley and grew up near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, graduating from Germantown High School in 1945.
Just before his 18th birthday, he and his best friend enlisted in the U.S. Army and landed in Yokohama in late 1946 as part of the occupation of Japan. Stationed north of Tokyo, Bill became part of 271st Field Artillery Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division and rose to corporal and then acting sergeant. In Japan, he also played on the battalion baseball team and learned to play golf.
Returning to the U.S. in 1948 and on the G.I. Bill, he attended the University of Pittsburgh where he was a business major; active with the debating team, ROTC, and Student Congress; president of Delta Tau Delta; and Omicron Delta Kappa's "Man of the Year." After graduating in 1952, Bill moved to New York City to begin his three-decade career in sales and management with Jones & Laughlin Steel.
It was in New York that he met the love of his life, Mary Frances Wheeler. After a whirlwind courtship and a proposal in a Central Park hansom cab, they were married on March 8, 1958. His career took them from New York to Chicago, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Princeton IL. He retired from J&L in 1981, started his own company in Charlotte, and worked as a manufacturer's representative for another two decades. Bill was an avid golf and tennis player, a lover of opera, an active member of Carmel Country Club and Trinity Presbyterian Church (where he was a Ruling Elder and Chairman of the Worship Committee), and a devoted and patient husband and father.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Pamela, and his wife of 58 years. Left to honor and remember his love, sense of humor, and legacy are his sister, Joanne; children, Bill (Joan) and Shep (Cyndy); and six grandchildren: Lauren, Brendan, Kyle, Cameron, Alec, and Gracie.
The McKinley family would like to extend our gratitude to his friends (residents & staff) at Southminster.