Name: William Edward McKenney Location: Mount Ida, AR D.O.B.: 2-5-1930 D.O.D.: 5-22-2017
William Edward McKenney (Bill Ed) passed away at his home in Mt. Ida, AR on Monday, May 22, 2017. He was born February 5, 1930 to Eddy George McKenney and Willie Katherine Fisher McKenney in Silver, AR.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father; step-parents, Helen McKenney and Lester Goodner; son, Eddy Lloyd McKenney; granddaughter, Breanna Lynn Miller; brothers, Robert McKenney, John Goodner, Jerry Goodner; sister-in-law. Beth Goodner; and sons-in-law, Wayne Stevens and Felipe Navarro.
He leaves behind his loving wife of 65 years, Mary Joanne Hopkins McKenney, whom he met and married in Anchorage, Alaska. He also leaves behind what he called “his greatest accomplishn1ents’·, his children: Charles (Shirley) McKenney; Cheryl Stevens (Jeffrey Sydenstricker) of Mt. Ida, AR; Teresa (Corky) Light of Arkadelphia; Lori (David) Bellows of Glenwood, AR; and Deanna (Gary) Miller of Waldorf, MD.
His surviving grandchildren are Terry Strickland Jr., Donna (Donald) Kite, Jennifer Marshall (Erik Zinger), Joanne (Joel) Baker, Jordan Marshall (Allison Haws), Jesse (April) Light, Nicol (Jerod) Batson, Mallory Stone, Lynell (Justin) Mattingly, Lori-Ana Guillen, Crystal Miller Estevez, Shane Miller, Melissa (Spencer) DeWaele, Avery (Sandra) Thompson, Caleb Thompson, Devin Thompson, Nicole (Steve) Weller and Chris Nicholson. Bill also has 20 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren.
His surviving siblings are Martha Joyce (Bill) McKay; Steve Goodner; Tom (Linda) Goodner of Arkansas; Tyna Millacci of Hawaii; sister-in-law, Phyllis Goodner of Arkansas; Jim (Jean) McKenney; Prudence (Glenn) Milliern; George (Franny) McKenney; Janet (Don) Gauthier; sister-in-law, Tamara McKenney of Washington State and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Bill graduated from Mount Ida High School in 1948, prior to enlisting in the United States Air Force. Bill proudly served his country in two capacities, resulting in 43 years of governn1ent service. He retired from the United States Air Force as an Intelligence Officer, serving two tours of duty in Vietnam and attaining the rank of Major. He was one of the first Sky Marshals with the U.S. Customs Service and flew on the last flight of the original Sky Marshal program. Later he served as a U.S. Customs Firearms and Self Defense Instructor.
He spent the first six years of his Air Force career as an enlisted man, then entered Officer Candidate School, followed by a Photo Interpretation Course and Squadron Officer School. He received numerous citations and medals, which included: AF Outstanding Unit Award, AF Longevity Service Award w/4 BR CLC, Vietnam Service Award, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and the Air Medal. Equally as notable, while in the Air Force and raising a family, Bill completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science.
Bill Ed grew up in Mt. Ida, AR. He spent much of his time with his grandparents, Mamaw and Papa Fisher and his aunts, the Fisher girls. Susie Brakefield is his last surviving aunt. As a child, he loved to go crystal mining with his Papa Fisher, who also taught him to hunt and fish. Bill was a man of many interests and hobbies. He was a member of the Black Springs Masonic Lodge #543, the American Legion Post 0313, and had been a teacher and Sunday School teacher. Bill Ed had a deep love of God, his family and Country.
His hobbies included camera, gun, knife and rock collecting, flying, automotive mechanics, gardening, crossword and Sudoku puzzles, reading, and hunting. Dove hunting lost its appeal after his six-year-old daughter cried out, “Daddy, don’t shoot it, don’t shoot it. I hear it crying for its momma”. When the dove lay on the ground she said, “We have to take it to the hospital.” Later, Bill Ed chose to no longer hunt. He found great pleasure in observing the birds and animals. Because of his love of nature, a young granddaughter thought he was the smartest man and wanted to take him to school to be her “show and tell’·. As she put it,” Grandpa knows so much about the ‘outside doors’.”
Bill Ed particularly enjoyed visiting with his brothers at the Mt. Ida Cafe, where they shared their animated, philosophical musings and debated all subjects worth discussing. Bill Ed deeply loved his dog Ralphy and had another heart attack when Ralphy passed away last winter.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105. This is in memory of Bill Ed’s little granddaughter, Breanna Lynn Miller.
Memorial Service followed by a Reception will be at the First United Methodist Church, 243 Whittington Street, Mount Ida, Arkansas on Friday, June 9, 2017 at 11 :30 a.m. with Reverend Russell Hull officiating. Arrangements were made under the direction of Thornton Funeral Home of Mount Ida, AR. Guest register at www.thorntonfh.com
Comments below are approved by Thornton Funeral Home before they are displayed.
Bill and I were always glad to see each other and I really enjoyed our conversations. His entire family always invited me to special family get-togethers and treated me as an extended member of their wonderful family. I will certainly miss his conversation and musings at future family reunions. God Bless you Bill and your entire wonderful family.