OBITUARY

Joel Ellis McKay

February 19, 1963July 19, 2020
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Father, son and friend Joel Ellis McKay died in Clinton, Mississippi after a battle with cancer. The family will receive friends and family on Saturday, August 8th at 1 p.m. at Lakewood Funeral Home. A celebration of his life will follow at 2 p.m. officiated by The Revered Ben Robertson, while observing proper social distancing mandates. A private burial will take place following the funeral at Lakewood Memorial Park Cemetery. A reception and celebration of our father’s life will be held at the home of Mindy McKay-Morton beginning 2:30 p.m., where we will gather to celebrate his life and remember the good times. Reunion Subdivision: 314 Covington Cove, Madison, Mississippi 39110.

Joel Ellis McKay was born on Feb. 19, 1963, in Jackson, Miss., the first of three children, eldest by seventeen years, born to Marion Ellis McKay, Jr. and Ernestine Hall McKay. Mr. McKay grew up in Clinton and Jackson, spending many impressionable years with his Gramps and Meemaw Hall, of whom he had fond memories. Mr. McKay eventually moved with his parents to Key Biscayne Island off of the coast of Miami. Joel also lived in many other southern Floridian towns including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Brandon, and Fort Myers. Through the years, Mr. McKay also called the Bahamas, Connecticut and Gulf Shores, Alabama, home. Approximately six years ago, Mr. McKay returned to Clinton, Mississippi, where he called the historical brick street district his home.

Mr. McKay attended Magnolia Academy where he played football. As he grew, so did his love for motocross sports. After Magnolia Academy, Mr. McKay attended trade school and later in life attended Florida International University where he studied architectural engineering.

Mr. McKay was an exceptional master carpenter. Years ago, on any given weekend, Joel could be found knocking out and rebuilding a wall in his parents’ home to enlarge or remodel a room to accommodate more family around the large dining room table. Late in life, he never had idle time and it was common to visit his home only to return two days later to a remodeled kitchen island and cabinetry made from the same material from the previous project. Professionally, he was most often a superintendent to large projects in which he took great pride.

Mr. McKay’s love and appreciation for music was expansive. While he never played in bands or shows, he played guitar impeccably without formal training. Each time his daughters walked into his house with grandchildren in tow, he would immediately pull his guitar from the wall and begin to strum. He taught Mindy and Lock how to play guitar, a lesson that shall not be forgotten. Mr. McKay had a unique ability to take words from common conversation and site corresponding musical lyrics. Beyond music, Mr. McKay enjoyed vehicles - older and newer models, and could quote the make, model and year of most any vehicle. Lastly but certainly not least, Joel was a poet. Words flowed from his mind and spilled unto paper with such ease and passion.

Mr. McKay is preceded in death by his mother Ernestine Hall McKay, father Marion Ellis McKay, Jr., and only natural granddaughter Brianna Claire Richards.

Survivors include Joel’s two daughters and their children. From his first marriage to Debbie Gail Fortner (now Toth), they bore daughter, Mindy Therese McKay (William Lock Morton, III) of Madison, Mississippi. From his second marriage to Melissa Dianne McMorris (now Ainsworth), they bore daughter, Megan Hollie McKay (Brandon Lee Richards) of Bradenton, Florida. Mr. McKay is survived by six grandchildren: Christopher Bryce Richards, Braydon Ellis Richards, Austin Lee Richards, Tyler Jacob Richards, McClara Morton and William Lock Morton, IV.

Joel was especially close to his lifelong friend and confidant, Roger Thompson, with whom he loved, leaned on and admired very much. If there was ever a story that made our father laugh the loudest and longest, it definitely included Roger “RT” Thompson and the situations in which they found themselves. Joel was also close to Mindy’s mother, Debbie Fortner Toth, who assisted Mindy, Megan and Roger in caring for him until his passing. Further special appreciation is offered to the gracious nuns at St. Dominic Hospital who prayed with Mr. McKay, offered him encouragement and provided him with hope for weeks during his hospital stays and continued to stay in touch upon release from the hospital. Additionally, we are grateful to Jackson Oncology for caring for our father during his treatments and difficult times. It cannot go without mentioning that Joel admired Honorable Judge William Singletary and forged a unique friendship.

Serving as honorary pallbearers are: William Lock Morton, III, Brandon Lee Richards, Roger Thompson, Tyler Jacob Richards, Christopher Bryce Richards, Braydon Ellis Richards, and William “Lock” Morton, IV.

Of greatest importance, our father found his faith and salvation of his own volition, before his diagnosis, and long before his passing. Our father will forever be known for his contagious laugh, his play on words, unique sense of humor and his love for music. We agonizingly miss him, but rest assured knowing that he is at our Holy Father’s house free of pain. In remembrance of our father’s love of the ocean, guests are invited, but not required, to wear colors that resonate happiness and colors of the ocean.

Services

  • Visitation

    Saturday, August 8, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, August 8, 2020

Memories

Joel Ellis McKay

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