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Louise McKinney

October 6, 1922 ~ October 20, 2018 (age 96)
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Funeral services for Louise McKinney, 96, of Painesville, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018 at Community Christian Church, 370 Hale Road, Painesville, Ohio 44077.  Mourners will begin gathering informally at noon.  Religious services will start about 12:30 and end by 2:00 PM, followed by a procession to Perry Cemetery, Center Road at Middle Ridge, for burial.  Mourners will then return to Community Christian Church for a reception. 

Family and friends may call 6:00-8:00 PM, Friday, October 26th at Spear Mulqueeny Funeral Home, 667 Mentor Avenue, Painesville, Ohio 

Mrs. McKinney was born October 6, 1922 in Vermont, Illinois.  She passed away October 20, 2018  in Mentor on the Lake.

Louise began her life in a small farming town near Peoria.  Her mother was a homemaker and seamstress, her father a trucker and coal miner.  This coal miner’s daughter was musical too and chorded on the piano while her father and uncles played fiddle tunes for the local dance.  She was a promising child and quickly rose to the head of her class at the small country school.  She graduated Valedictorian and earned a scholarship to a local college, but it was the Great Depression, money was tight, and she couldn’t afford to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.  Instead she pursued a life of self education and service in other ways.

Working as a waitress in Peoria she met her future husband, Mac, and started a family.  The War came and she went back home with her daughter to await, with her sister and her child, the return of their men from the War.   After the War, jobs were scarce, so she and her young family moved to Lake County Ohio where her husband’s brothers had found jobs in local factories.   Louise tended her three children in a tiny apartment in Fairport Harbor while Mac built them a new home by day and spun rayon fibers by night.

As her children worked their way through the Painesville Township school system, Louise followed them, leading  parent--teachers organizations and advocating for her children to have opportunities she had missed.   Seeing a need for a church in her neighborhood, Louise, Mac and neighbors started a congregation in the school basement while they raised money to build Community Christian Church on Hale Road.

Recognizing that her children might need money for college, Louise went out to work as a medical assistant for several Painesville doctors, answering phones, doing billing, and assisting with medical procedures.  She brought home medical journals to study and jokes from the doctor’s lounge.  Once she brought home an amputated sixth toe which became a most unusual “show and tell” for her son’s amusement and edification.  This medical experience, while not the career in nursing Louise wanted, led to other jobs in medical insurance and volunteering at the local hospital until age 93.

At age 50 Louise found her husband, Mac, slipping into a strange state of memory loss and confusion.  Terrified, she took him from doctor to clinic for several years without a clear diagnosis until she learned this condition affected many of his fellow workers.  Further research indicated these men had been poisoned by a chemical in their workplace.  Denied workers compensation,  Louise organized a group of wives and tenaciously pursued a lawsuit which ultimately led to a modest settlement which helped to support them through years of caregiving responsibilities.

Louise had always been a willing and able traveler.  Vacations were always trips to visit family scattered across the country with a smattering of monuments, mountains and canyons observed along the way.  After the passing of her husband, parents and siblings, these trips became opportunities to see places she had encountered in a life of voracious reading.  During a trip to England she sought out homes and castles of famous authors and memorable characters from the classics.  There were trips to San Francisco, Spain, Quebec, and Labrador among others.  Each destination provided a photographic souvenir place-mat for her dinner table.  When her grandchildren visited, she would ask “Where do you want to dine tonight --  Mt. Hood or with Anne of Green Gables?”

It was a full and productive life of 96 years for Louise McKinney.  She found satisfaction in books and book clubs, theater groups and many hands of bridge.  A stickler for literacy and “good grammar”, a writer of poetry and doggerel, a lover of learning and music, Louise was never without a conversation, a song, or argument.   She was intelligent, tenacious, generous, loving, and sometimes bitter and unforgiving.   She made many friends, and a few enemies, most of whom she outlived.  And so, with these words we say goodbye to a remarkable woman. 

Louise is survived by her sons, Jeff (Gloria) McKinney of Leroy Township, Kevin (Margarita) McKinney of San Francisco, California and Montgomery McKinney of Painesville; daughter, Susanne (Charles) Dye of Slatington, Pennsylvania; ten grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph McKinney in 1990; her parents, Lawrence and Adah (Cox) Robinson; brothers, James Robinson,  Dale Robinson;  Berthol Robinson, and sister, Margaret Warner.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice of The Western Reserve or a favorite charity.  The family greatly appreciates the staff of Hospice and Salida Woods Assisted Living who made Louise’s passing as peaceful and comfortable as possible.


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