Deacon Willie G. McKinney, Jr.
On Friday, December 25, 2020 twas divine ordination when a host of Angels greeted and escorted Willie G. McKinney, Jr., 80, to his eternal resting place ~ Heaven.
Entering the world on July 1, 1940 in Manchester, Georgia, Deacon Willie G. McKinney, Jr. was the first of five children born to Willie (“Bo”) McKinney, Sr. and Carrie Bell (Bryant) McKinney. He spent his developmental years in Georgia until the age of three when Willie Sr. and Carrie Bell relocated to Youngstown, Ohio.
During the early years of Willie’s life, he matriculated through the Youngstown City School system where he attended Monroe elementary, Hillman Junior High, and was a 1959 graduate of East High School. Despite the fact that Willie’s athletic prowess in football and baseball was short lived, he participated in the school’s marching band and was an avid drummer for years. Willie always had a fervent appetite for information and understanding, and was consummate about learning even up until his transition. He was an ardent student of knowledge and had a brilliant and intelligent mind, especially in mathematics and science. He helped tutor math and build many science projects for his children and many others as well. Still, his desire for more education continued after high school where he attended Youngstown State University (former Youngstown College) majoring in Mechanical and Electrical engineering. He hold two Associate degrees, one from New Castle School of Trades for Management in diesel and auto mechanics and one in Business Administration.
During his time at the university, Willie met the love of his life the former Rebecca M. Morgan in 1961 while she was a senior in high school. It was their three-year courtship that Willie not only won the heart of Rebecca, but her parents and siblings as well. He was a gentleman, helpful, and showered Rebecca and her family with gifts, kindness, and many Sunday drives in his convertible Buick. By the time Willie was to leave for the US Armed Services - where he served from 1964 to 1970 - he knew he wanted to marry and spend the rest of his life with Rebecca. On September 26, 1964, he espoused the love of his life, Rebecca M. Morgan. Five children were born to this loving union. Upon leaving the Armed Services, Willie and Rebecca left Fort Knox, Kentucky and relocated to Youngstown, Ohio where he was employed and retired from General Electric as a Mechanic engineer and Selex mechanic for over 30 years.
Although, Willie was often a man of few words and demonstrated a quiet demeanor, he personified strength, resilience, tenacity and service in everything he did. In the 80 years on earth, Willie exemplified “Kingly” characteristics that exudes the “Ultimate Measure of the Man and servant.” He was the kind of husband, father and friend that gave, helped others, and went above and beyond unconditionally for his wife, his children, his family and friends. He embodied immeasurable integrity, gentleness, selflessness, kindness, and wisdom beyond time. He instilled morals, values, principles, and doing what was right and honorable to God and for oneself to his children and many others – young and old. He taught by example to be a hard worker, to save and pay God and yourself, to invest your finances as well as invest into people, and to treat others the way God would as well as the way you would want to be treated. One of his famous sayings was… “A Lie Will Slowly Walk You Down… so ALWAYS tell the TRUTH!”
Deacon Willie McKinney was a member of Mt. Calvary Pentecostal Church where he was baptized in Jesus’ Name and received the Holy Ghost in March of 1973. Deacon McKinney was the Manager and operator of Calvary gas station that the church purchased and owned. Deacon McKinney served as the official licensed transportation operator carrying church and community members to and from church services, Vacation Bible School, and whenever the Pastor (the late Honorable Bishop Norman L. Wagner) and church traveled to various local and interstate church meetings and services. He often drove to The Northeast Region of The Ohio District Council P.A.W. (former Ohio District Council). He served as the equipment manager for The Sons of Thunder football team. He served as a Sunday school teacher, Children’s church Ministry, Guest Services Ministry (former Hospitality Committee), and the culinary and kitchen Ministries serving donuts, coffee, and various food items before and after Sunday services. He was a member of Mt. Calvary’s Brotherhood Ministry. He was a member of Mt. Calvary’s Executive Board initially as a Trustee and was later elevated to the office of a Deacon.
Deacon Willie McKinney was passionate, committed, and dedicated in his love for God, his wife, his children, his family and friends. He was a loving, caring, giving, and devoted husband and father, especially to his daughter ~ Raquel ~ who was born with Spina bifida for over 42 years until her transition. He was known as “W.G. and Big Mac” by his loving wife and many family and friends.
Deacon Willie McKinney was known as “The Master Mechanic with Gifted Hands” by many church members, family, and members of the community as there was no vehicle or household item (large or small, electrical, or plumbing) that he was not able to fix, mend, and build! Many also referred to him as “The Master Griller” when he grilled ribs they were so tender and tasted par excellent! He enjoyed reading, Crossword puzzles, current and news events (MSNBC), crime shows, sweets, (Mr. Good bars, pound cake, and butter pecan ice cream). He was an avid Cleveland Browns fans. Most of all, he loved to read and study the Bible, which you could find him EVERY morning and sometimes for hours reading and studying, spending time with his family and good friends. He was known to be a “father figure” to many young people and adults.
Deacon Willie McKinney leaves to cherish his memory the love of his life, his best friend, and his devoted wife of 56 years, Rebecca M. McKinney; four children, Evangelist Zina D. McKinney, Sean T. McKinney, and Willie G. McKinney, III all of Youngstown, OH; and Monica L. McKinney of Atlanta, GA; a sister, Anna Grace Grhim, of Youngstown, OH; two brothers, Jerry (Sonya) McKinney of Liberty, OH and Randolph (Sharon) McKinney of Meadville, PA; a young lady who Willie and Rebecca helped raise and consider like a daughter/granddaughter, Gwendolyn (Gigi) King, of Detroit, MI; five godchildren, Stacey Brady, of Cleveland, OH; Jonathan Franklin, of Cincinnati, OH; Carissa Reed, of Youngstown, OH; Kaziah and Kaleb Boudrey, of Campbell, OH as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other family and friends. His parents, a sister - Evelyn Clay, and a daughter - Raquel T. McKinney, preceded Willie in death.
Visitation will be Friday, January 8, 2021 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the L. E. Black, Phillips & Holden Funeral Home, and on Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. at the Mt. Calvary Pentecostal Church. Private funeral services will follow for family only. Due to the pandemic, all guests are asked to please wear masks and observe social distancing. For the health and safety of everyone, we ask that guests do not linger at the funeral home or the church after viewing.
Humbly Submitted By The Family
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