Dr. John Edson McKee

May 27, 1941February 28, 2019

Dr. John Edson McKee, 77, passed away on Thursday, February 28, 2019 in the Wellness Unit at the Bridgewater Community. Ed was born on May 27, 1941 in Topeka, Kansas and was the son of Kathryn and the late George McKee.

Ed grew up in Argentine, Kansas. He was an outstanding student, an Eagle Scout, and a tarp crew member for the Kansas City Athletics. He formed life-long friendships with other Argentine boys who referred to themselves as “The Mustangs.” Ed attended Kansas State Teacher’s College, joined the AKL fraternity, worked as a fireman on the Santa Fe RR to pay the bills, and graduated in 1961. He met his future wife Barbara while they were students. Ed taught high school drama and English and coached debate in Haysville, Kansas while working on his master’s degree in Counseling. After graduation, Ed was drafted and spent his military service at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Ed and Barbara were married in 1967 while he served in the army. After his discharge, they moved to Bloomington, Indiana where Ed attended Indiana University and earned his EdD, doctorate of Education. During their time in Bloomington, they were blessed with two children, Eric and Robin.

After graduation, Ed was hired by JMU as a counselor educator and co-led the creation of JMU’s counseling program, now regarded as one of the best in the state. He retired in 2018 after over fifty years of teaching. After retirement, Ed found new exciting activities and interests to pursue. He became a wood turner and also began leading drum circles. He volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club, at Bridgewater Retirement Community, and Our Community Place.

Ed is survived by: his wife of 51 years, Barbara; son, Eric Edson McKee and wife Janeth; grandson, Maxwell Edson; daughter, Robin McKee McGivern and husband, Nick; granddaughters, Cameron Elizabeth Poole, Allison McKee Poole; and grandsons Peter Robin McGivern and Patrick Michael McGivern. Also surviving are his mother, Kathryn McKee, his sisters Joyce Phelps and Marileen Kastl, and their families.

A memorial celebration of love will be held Saturday, March 9th , 2019 at 10:00AM at Lindsey Funeral Home in Harrisonburg. There is no public viewing as his wishes were to be cremated. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Ed’s memory to /donate or mailed to 17 East Johnson Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22802. Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting


  • Barbara McKee, Wife
  • Eric Edson McKee & wife, Janeth, Son & Daughter-in-law
  • Maxwell Edson, Grandson
  • Robin McKee McGivern & husband, Nick, Daughter & Son-in-law
  • Cameron Elizabeth Poole, Granddaughter
  • Allison McKee Poole, Granddaughter
  • Peter Robin McGivern, Grandson
  • Patrick Michael McGivern, Grandson
  • Kathryn McKee, Mother
  • Joyce Phelps, Sister
  • Marileen Kastl, Sister
  • George McKee, Father


  • Celebration of Love Memorial Service Saturday, March 9, 2019

Dr. John Edson McKee

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jane Bowers

March 11, 2019

Barbara, I just learned today in talking with Eileen that Ed had died recently. I don't know how I missed seeing his obituary since I always look at those in the newspaper. I want to express my sympathy to you and your family. Ed was always a delight to be around, and I know it's an understatement to say you miss him. I am so sorry that he was a victim of cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Tony and Nancy Eksterowicz

March 10, 2019

We remember Ed as a outstanding educator, inquisitive and gentle man, and inspiration to many students and colleagues. May his memory provide you and family comfort.

Karen Thomsen

March 9, 2019

Barbara, my deepest sympathies go to you and your family. I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

Don Harter

March 8, 2019

Barbara, our deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family over your loss. Memories of Ed cover many wonderful years. He will be dearly missed.

Sending you our love,
Don and Val Harter

Casey Carter

March 8, 2019

I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to have had Ed as the professor of my first class in the Counselor Education Program at JMU. I learned so much from him and felt his influence on my career from the first day I met him. When I think of him I think of humor, intelligence, enthusiasm, compassion, and dedication to his craft. He was a gifted educator and he will be missed. I extend my sincere sympathy to his family and friends...

Jerry and Jodie Van Meter

March 5, 2019

To the McKee Family:

We fondly remember Ed and his funny stories. From his philosophical viewpoints to his logical opinions, he was always up front and a joy to be around. Though he strayed far from his "Argentine" roots, he never forgot his friends. We will miss him! We will always honor him! His passing leaves a huge void.

Our condolences to Barbara and all the family.

Jerry and Jodie Van Meter

Renee Staton

March 5, 2019

I'm sending love to you all during this time. Ed was a much beloved man and had such a memorable and important presence. His lessons, support, and encouragement have been vital to so many of his students and colleagues, and his legacy continues to thrive in so many ways.
In deepest sympathy,

Bob Bersson

March 5, 2019

I have such warm, uplifting memories of Ed as an appreciator of our jazz music at the Dayton Tavern on the many Tuesday evenings he came with Barbara to listen, dine, and socialize with friends. He was ever lively,
enthusiastic, and positive. We always invited him to join us as a percussionist on a number or two but he ever so humbly (and with good humor) declined.

I knew of Ed as a top-notch professor, counselor, and psychologist but it was at The Tavern in Dayton that I first got to know him personally. I will miss him very much and he will be in my memory when we play.

My deepest condolences to you, Barbara, and the whole family.

Steve Smith

March 5, 2019

Barb and family,
Ed will certainly be missed by many. For me, his lasting memory is that of having provided thousands of JMU students in psychology, counseling and humor to go out into the world and make it a better place by helping our fellow man/woman. He was a great guy and a super professor. My sympathy go out to Barb and the McKee family.

Steve Smith

Jim Couch

March 4, 2019

Ed was a good friend and colleague for the years we both were at JMU. He contributed greatly to the Department of Psychology and the profession of Counseling. By imparting quality counseling skills to hundreds of students who in turn will use those skills with their clients, his contributions to the mental health of our country lives on. Barb, my heartfelt condolences to you and your family.