Stanley Charles McKinley

October 3, 1944June 8, 2021

Stan McKinley, long time resident of Mercer Island, passed away peacefully of natural causes on June 8, 2021.

He was born in Ironwood, Michigan on October 3, 1944. The first of six children, Stan was the beloved big brother of a well rooted but divergent mix of personalities. The family moved to Ephrata, Washington when Stan was 7, where the growing McKinley clan spent the next 10 years in the nurturing and instructive embrace of small-town America. The tight-knit sibling complex grew steadily stronger, more loving and supportive as the years progressed.

Stan served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969. While stationed in Thailand during this time, he came to love both the people and the natural beauty of that country.

He graduated with a B.S. in Zoology from Washington State University in 1972, and worked as a Medical Technologist in Seattle for the next 35 years, specializing in Toxicology during the last 20 plus years of his career.

Bright and inquisitive, compassionate and kind, Stan was intensely loyal to the people and things that mattered to him. He was a disciplined scholar all his life, a gardener, a cook, and an outdoorsman. A serious environmentalist many decades before that issue asserted itself into the general conscience, he lived his beliefs, generously supporting those organizations dedicated to protecting this world.

Stan maintained an unwavering devotion to WSU. A passionate Cougar fan, for years he held season tickets to the WSU Football games, faithfully making those treks from Mercer Island to Pullman for each home game. He disliked crowds and avoided them like the proverbial plague. Except of course, for Martin Stadium.

He acquired an impressive library over the years, almost all of it nonfiction. History and science dominated the shelves. Browsing through the titles was an exercise in awe, or humility, or both. They revealed a very reflective mind, smart, curious, questioning, but at the heart, also a reverence and respect for this human struggle.

Stan naturally gravitated to the outdoors. Hunting and fishing in his youth, his adult years were spent backpacking in the Cascades and kayaking in British Columbia, particularly off the coast of Vancouver Island. He taught his siblings to kayak, and for nearly 20 years they kept an annual summer rendezvous with their big brother, kayaking and tent camping together.

His cooking skills were legendary among family and friends, an interest which segued perfectly with his love of gardening. He was the official cook on those kayaking trips, stuffing his kayak with spices, fresh garlic, onions, fruit, veggies, etc. Among his creations were fresh caught salmon, wonderful pasta and rice dishes, oysters, and a fish stew worthy of being served in a 3-star Michelin restaurant. Not the usual camping fare.

If Stan had been placed on a bell curve of the human personality, he would have been an outlier. Quiet, independent, strong of will, always searching, learning, wondering and caring. He was a wonderful enigma to those who knew him well. He was, like this definition, a total contradiction. Born with an introspective nature, a compassionate and forgiving heart, and a wonderful, dry wit, the follies and tribulations of our species often fascinated and amused him. He rarely voiced criticism; more often he would sit back with laughing eyes, a hint of a smile, and an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

Some people are fortunate enough to cross paths during their lives with someone like Stan. If they are very, very lucky, they get to call this person sibling.

Stan was preceded in his death by his parents, Stan Sr. and Dorothy McKinley. He is survived by his five siblings, Judy, Carl, Ruth, Nora, and George, and 7 nieces and nephews.

The family requests that donations be made to the WSU Foundation, P.O. Box 641925, Pullman, WA 99164-1925, or at

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Stanley Charles McKinley

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Betsy Racoosin

June 26, 2021

I was so sorry to learn of Stan’s passing! I met Stan in 1980 when I moved to Seattle - we worked night shift in the same lab for a few years. He was such a pleasant individual with the best droll sense of humor & chuckle! I am thankful to have had him as a friend & coworker.