OBITUARY

James McKinney

August 4, 1942January 15, 2013
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McKinney, James William, Colonel-died peacefully at home with family and friends by his side on Tuesday, the 15th of February 2013. He is proceded in death by his parents Mary Rose and Jim Will McKinney. Survived by his wife Grayce McKinney of Nashville; daughter Bridget McCraw (Jeff); grandchildren, Lexie, Ethan and Slade of Memphis and cousin, Karen Graham of Nashville. He attended Christ the King, The Cathedral of the Incarnation and Father Ryan High School where he served as an altar boy from age 6-16. He went to the U.S. Marine Corps soon out of high school for a 3 year enlistment. He credited that experience with the discipline that set the tone for the rest of his life. After that, he went to Memphis State College on an Air Force ROTC scholarship where he graduated and received his initial USAF pilot training at Moody AFB, GA. His first Air Force assignment was flying C-124’s world-wide. He then went to South East Asia where he accumulated 500 combat hours flying in Vietnam. It was there he flew the mission that earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Force Medal for Meritorious Achievement. Following two tours in S.E. Asia, he returned state-side as an instructor pilot at the Tennessee Air National Guard’s 118th Airlift Wing. There he participated in Desert Storm/Shield, Relief/Hope in Somalia, and flew alongside the Russians in Bangladesh. He later served as the Squadron Commander of the 105th Airlift Sqd and Group Ops Commander of the 118th Airlift Wing. In addition to his Air Force career, as a commercial airline pilot, he flew the 747, DC-8, 727, 737, DC-9, F-100 and F-28 for Braniff, Piedmont and US Airways. At the time of his retirement he had accumulated over 20,000 hours of total flight time. After retirement, he worked as a volunteer for Crisis Hotline, American Red Cross, Cumberland Heights and patient-transporter for the American Cancer Society. The family extends their appreciation to his physicians, Dr. William Bounds, and Dr. William Pettus, Dr. Mark Miller, and Dr. Ron Pruitt for their kind and ceaseless care. A Celebration of Life will be at Twelve o’clock in the afternoon on the 25th of January 2013 at Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home. Visitation with the family and friends will be at the funeral home from ten o’clock in the morning until noon on the day of service at Marshall-Donnelly-Combs. Interment will be at the Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery, 7931 McCrory Lane, at two o’clock in the afternoon. In Lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made in his honor to the Nashville Humane Society or the charity of your choice.

REMEMBERING

James McKinney

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January 27, 2013

Jim will be missed by his many friends from Father Ryan High School; I came to know Jim there and found him to be a genuinely good person with a heart of gold. His life should inspire us all!

January 25, 2013

Jim McKinney
Probably known by many as “Big Ugly”
Only an appellation, it said nothing for his character, commitment or charisma.
I've always believed you should be your own man.
Jim McKinney personified that.
He is what legends are made off.
Institutions will perish, just as the 105th AS,
but the legions that utter the name “Big Ugly” and tell tales that accompany that name will live on eternally.
Jim was a mentor, brother, friend, warrior and fellow aviator.
His name is now carved in the roster
Jim will fly no more missions on this earthly planet but we'll soar together again someday.
You will be missed “Big Ugly” but you will never be forgotten!!!!!

January 25, 2013

Grayce and family,
You have my sincere condolence. Jim was a great person and a superb pilot. I will always remember one mission when I was so glad he was the pilot or I might not be writing this now. He was a good friend and believed in having fun as well as getting the job done. May he rest in peace and may the Good Lord bless and comfort each of you.
Charlie Dauphin 118th Maint.

Dave Pedersen

January 25, 2013

One time Jim and I were flying to Corpus Christi Tx with a helicopter in the back and the little windscreen down by my left foot broke and the plane depressurized. It was extremely loud and when I finally got my headset on I told Jim that we needed to declare an emergency and land. He calmly told me that it was already taken care of and we had a clearance to land at Navy New Orleans. We spent a couple of days there patching up the C130 so we could finish the mission. Jim was a real professional pilot and a lot of fun to fly with. Thanks for the memories Jim.

January 24, 2013

Some day we will know, where pilots go
when their work on earth is through.
Where the air is clean, and the engines gleam
and the skies are always blue.
They have flown alone, with the engines moan,
as they sweat the great beyond,
And they take delight, at the awsome sight
of the world spread far and yon.

Yet not alone, for above the moan, where the earth is out of sight,
as they make there stand, He takes their hand
and guides them through the night.
How near to God are these men of sod,
who step near Deaths last door?
Oh, these are real, not made of steel,
but He knows who goes before.

And how they live, and love, and are beloved,
but their love is most for air.
And with death about, they still fly out,
and leave their troubles there.
He knows these things, of men with wings,
and He knows they are surely true.
and He will give a hand, to such a man
'cause He's a pilot too.

Ed Foster

January 22, 2013

Jim made our time at Father Ryan a little more exciting with his humour. I added a photo of Jim in study hall at Ryan. We took pictures of each other after we had run out of everything else to do ! Our loss is heaven's gain. Rest in peace Jimmy.

Jeff Philbin

January 22, 2013

I'm a high school classmate from Father Ryan High School in Nashville, TN (class of 1960). Thanks for the memories of your fun-loving spirit, sense of humor and laughter. May you rest in peace and may your family rejoice in the memories of all the good times that you had together.

Rob Crawford

January 22, 2013

Col McKinney was my first Squadron Commander in the 105th TAS. May he rest in His Everlasting Arms.

Rob Crawford

January 22, 2013

Col McKinney was my first Squadron Commander in the 105th. He was an awesome pilot and great person. May he rest in His Everlasting Arms.

Frank Glasgow

January 22, 2013

Grayce

So sorry to hear about the passing of Jimmy. We had so much fun in our Father Ryan High School days together. I was amazed in reading his obituary, I never knew he had the Military careeer. May he rest in peace, I am sure it will be more fun in heaven now that he has arrived.