McKinney, Bill R. 1936-2019

Bill R. McKinney passed away on June 7, 2019, at his home in St. Joseph, surrounded by his family.

He was born on Sept. 6, 1936, in St. Joseph the son of Virgil and Marie McKinney.

Bill graduated from Lafayette High School in 1954 and received many athletic honors in football, basketball and track. Earning a football scholarship to the University of Missouri, Bill was a starting offensive and defensive end for the Tigers for three years. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education and later earned his master's degree in Education.

After college, Bill was a teacher and head football coach in Plattsburg, Missouri for two years. He then returned to his alma mater in 1960 to become head football coach at Lafayette. He continued to support the Fighting Irish throughout his life.

Although Bill's athletic honors were innumerable, he was recognized as one of the best fast-pitch softball pitchers nationwide throughout his 16-year career. Deservedly, Bill was inducted into the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame and later formed the local softball board.

In 1971, Bill combined his passion for sports with business and opened Spartan Sporting Goods. This fulfilled one of his dreams and provided a retail destination to the sports community for nearly 20 years. This led to other business ventures that allowed him to travel internationally.

In 1987, Bill became the Director of Parks & Recreation serving the community of St. Joseph for 28 years. Known as a visionary, Bill led the completion of many projects including the Remington Nature Center, St. Joseph REC Center, St. Joseph Aquatic Park and Heritage Park.

In addition to these successful endeavors, Bill implemented improvements across the expansive park system including Phil Welch Stadium, Fairview Clubhouse, Bartlett Park, Bode Ice Arena, Civic Arena, Krug Park and a multitude of others. Fittingly, after Bill retired as Parks Director in 2015, the City recognized his service by dedicating the Bill McKinney Softball Complex at Heritage Park in his honor.

Bill's faith in God and love of his family defined his life. Most content when surrounded by his family, Bill loved playing games and telling entertaining "Billy Ray" stories from his youth. An active member of McCarthy Baptist Church, he taught Sunday School and served on the stewardship committee. Bill was admired by many because of his friendly demeanor and dedication to the St. Joseph community. Family, friends, co-workers, former students and players will always remember Bill and his gentle nature, humor, and devotion.

Bill was preceded in death by: his parents; and sisters, Shirley Keyton and Beverly Haselwood.

Bill is survived by: his wife, Carla McKinney; his children, Kim Siela, Kelly Putnam (John), Kristin McKinney, Joan Woolard (Korbin), and Paul Woolard (Abra); his 11 grandchildren, Casey Siela (Samantha), Kaitlin Siela, Madison Putnam, Chase Putnam, Ellie Hicks, Matthew Hicks, Severin von Stentzsch, Paxon von Stentzsch, Remi Woolard, Macki Woolard and Grayden Woolard; and one great-granddaughter, Carter Siela.

Farewell Services: 1 p.m. Tuesday, McCarthy Baptist Church.

Interment: Memorial Park Cemetery.

The family will gather with friends 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory.

The family suggests donations be made to the St. Joseph Parks & Recreation Department (Special Park Projects fund), the Mission fund at McCarthy Baptist Church or Samaritan's Purse (Operation Christmas Child).

Online guest book and obituary at www.meierhoffer.com. As published in the St. Joseph News-Press.