Former St. Joseph Parks Director Bill McKinney passed away Friday at the age of 82.
McKinney was parks director for close to 30 years before retiring in 2015. He participated in many projects throughout St. Joseph, including the creation of Heritage Park Softball Complex. The complex was named after him in September of 2015 after his retirement.
Chuck Kempf, the current director of Parks, Recreation and Civic Facilities, worked for McKinney for 10 years and under him from 2010 to 2015. Kempf replaced McKinney after his retirement.
“He was a driving force behind the creation of Heritage Park,” Kempf said. “He was a very good softball player when he was younger and even when he got older, so I know it meant a lot that it was named after him.”
He was known as a very good fast pitch softball player who competed in tournaments around the country.
McKinney’s love of history and sports is what influenced a lot of his projects in St. Joseph. He was a key person in the creation of the Remington Nature Center, St. Joseph Aquatic Park, St. Joseph REC Center and brought many softball tournaments to Heritage Park.
“He had a great personality and sense of humor and was just a great person to be around,” Kempf said. “He was extremely resourceful and could do a lot with little money because he was so creative and got the most out of things.”
McKinney’s presence was well known in St. Joseph for his great love of the community, his projects and the great legacy he’s left behind.
“Bill’s commitment and contributions to this community cannot be overstated,” Kempf said. “His impact will show for decades and I feel like that will go overshadowed, but he’s leaving behind a tremendous legacy.”
Farewell Services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, at McCarthy Baptist Church. The family will gather with friends 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, at Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory.