Johnnie's Story

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Johnnie McKay, 91, of Rusk, died Tuesday November 21, 2017 at his home surrounded by his family.
He leaves behind his daughter Sherry McKay, daughter in law Margie McKay, sister in law Sebell Belmear, 95, 4 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his loving wife Marie McKay and son Dennis Michael McKay.
Johnnie Avon McKay was born February 23, 1926 in Canton Texas. On a blind date he would find his partner in life for the next 73 years Hattie Marie Brown. After their marriage he would leave to serve his country in WWII.
During WWII, Johnnie served as a medic and was a 2 time bronze star recipient. Upon his return from the war he attended Texas A&M university where he attained a Master's degree in 1951.
Johnnie's life of service continued as he became the Agricultural County Agent first for Panola County and then for Cherokee County where he served for 28 years.  Throughout his years of service to his community he was President of the Kiwanis Club and a member of the Rusk Industrial Foundation. He received many awards such as a national honor for his newspaper column called, "Farming Today With Johnnie McKay", Presidential award from the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce in 1979, Distinguished Service award from Cherokee County Soil and Water Conservation Service in 1986, and was named Rusk Man of the year in 1971. He also held honors from Phi Kappa Phi, Epsilon Sigma Phi Professional society, and a Meritorious Service Honor from Texas A&M university for his time as an educator at the University.
Johnnie McKay lead a life of service. He served his country, his family, his community, but most of all GOD and his church.  It was most important to him that as he embarked on any endeavor, he took with him the best effort he could and at the end, he left things better than he found them.  He wanted to instill a sense of purpose to all his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  In every event throughout his life he was firm in the resolution that GOD walked with him and worked through him.  He stated, "Success is our accomplishment by the will of GOD and without his grace it would not be achieved." His definition of success most definitely defined his life and through GOD'S grace filled that life with purpose, achievement and immeasurable blessings. He was an honorable man, a good friend and he Will Be Missed.
A funeral service for Johnnie is scheduled for 2 o'clock in the afternoon Sunday, November 26, 2017 at Autry Funeral Home Chapel in Jacksonville with Rev. Robert Newton officiating. He will be laid to rest at Still Waters Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville.
Pallbearers will be John Knowles, John Hulstine, Jerry Parker, James Freeman, Josh Woodruff, Michael McKay, and Chris McKay. Honorary pallbearers will be Homer Rogers, and Paul Lunene.
A visitation will begin on Saturday, November 25, 2017 and friends are cordially invited to visit with Johnnie's family from 5 to 7 o'clock in the evening at Autry Funeral Home, Jacksonville.
Published on November 24, 2017
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