Louis Nathan McKinney
September 6, 1919 - June 12, 2012
Louis Nathan McKinney
Louis Nathan McKinney, 92, of Bigelow, Arkansas, died Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at Brookridge Cove Nursing Center in Morrilton, Arkansas. Louis McKinney was a devoted son, a loving husband, and wonderful father to his three children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. He enjoyed life and all that was around him. He told great stories. He loved and was loved. Mr. McKinney a native of Bigelow, Arkansas. He was born September 6, 1919. His parents were Permelia Hudspeth McKinney and Thomas Nathan McKinney. He was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis Horton McKinney, his sister, Jewel McKinney Langston, his brother Jack McKinney and a granddaughter, Regina McKinney.
Mr. McKinney was a member of the Bigelow Church of Christ. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. He operated McKinney Auto Radio in Little Rock for 20 years until his retirement in 1979. After retirement he was a seasonal gatekeeper for the Corp of Engineers at Toad Suck Park.
He is survived by his children, Diana McKinney, Nathan and his wife Judy Dickens McKinney, Thomas and his wife Sharon Haley McKinney; grandchildren, Jennifer Morris Presson, Michelle Morris Ziegler, Brandi McKinney Bourne, Russell, Nathan and Thomas Alan McKinney; great-grandchildren, Cameron Summers, Julia Bourne, Khloe, Karliegh, and Blakelyn McKinney.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m., Friday, June 15, 2012, at Roller-McNutt Funeral Home, in Conway. Mr. McKinney’s funeral service will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, June 16, 2012, at the Bigelow Church of Christ, with Taylor Francis officiating. Burial will follow in Oak Grove Cemetery near Bigelow.
Arrangements are under the direction of Roller-McNutt Funeral Home-Conway 327-7727. Online guestbook www.rollerfuneralhomes.com
One of Louis McKinney’s Stories Recorded and Transcribed in 1992
My mother’s family were Hudspeth’s and Lipscomb’s. The Lipscomb’s were associated with the Church of Christ. Lots of the songs in the hymn books are written by Lipscomb’s. When they came to Arkansas from Tennessee they came to Marshall and settled at Bear Creek. Mother was born there. She had sisters, Lear (Johnson) and Mary Etta (Baker), and a brother, Talbert who contributed to the population this little community.
The whole family moved from Marshall at one time, many of them headed for Colorado. They had to turn back because they got caught in the winter weather and had to consume the seed grain they had with them as well as the cattle in order to survive. My grandfather was probably more interested in finding gold again that he found in a creek in Colorado. They were on a wagon train. Mammie (Permelia) was about 8. Grandfather made at least three attempts to go back to Colorado to locate the place where he found gold – back in the years of the Civil War. My mother had four brothers, and as far as I know, three sisters too. Grandmother Hudspeth married twice after grandfather died. I only saw her the day she died. I remember sitting down under a cottonwood tree down at Toad Suck, waiting for the ferry to go over to the next county to go to where grandmother lived. She was dying. I remember how cruel I thought my mother was for not letting me play in that nice cool water.
Mammie’s father’s family lived in Tennessee – two of her brothers went South, two went North during the Civil War.
My grandfather McKinney is buried at Bee Branch (Blackwell Cemetery). There’s a cemetery there where he donated the land to establish the cemetery. His name was Thomas Marion McKinney. He served in the Civil War and fought at Wilson Creek. His Great –grandfather, Francis, fought in the Revolutionary War.
My Grandfather McKinney’s brothers moved on to Texas. Grandfather also lived in Evening Shade, then Gregory Point, Arkansas. That’s where my dad was born and where grandmother died. Grandfather was a doctor (don’t know about training, but he was considered a doctor in his community – probably training during the war). After grandmother died he moved back and moved onto his brother’s abandoned farm. My daddy had one sister (Mackie Graham). My parents got married in Marshall. After Permelia and Nath married ,they lived in various places around Bigelow until the mill closed and the whole town folded. They had two other children, Jack and Jewel, then me later on. Dad died when I was 9. He had a kidney disease. The doctor’s gave him the wrong medication for Malaria, not knowing he had kidney disease. The medicine killed him.
We moved back to Pleasant Valley, then moved to Wilmont, and then came back to Pleasant Valley where mother’s sisters and brother and their families lived. There was no money, no food – during the Depression. People were trying to find something to do to make money or raise food. Farming was the best they could do. No electricity, used kerosene lamps. That first winter we had nothing. After that I made a crop (10 years old). Jewel was working in Little Rock at a garment factory. Me and my mother took care of ourselves. I was able to buy a mule and a cow from that first crop I made. The mule was bought on credit. We bought a cultivator. Pretty much did that until I was 16 or 17, when I went to the CC Camp for one year, came home made a crop, then went back in for two more years. During this time we built a house right across from where we live now. My mother opened a little store. In Fall 1939 I went to Kentucky and mined coal for about a year. My sister, Jewel and her husband Jessie lived there. I lived with them. A lot of hard work. That next year, Jessie went to Flint, Michigan. I stayed in Kentucky a while then bought an old 1935 truck and went to Michigan. I hauled coal in the winter, in summer delivered ice. Then I went to work driving a truck making 85 cents an hour then. That was good pay. I did that until the next summer. I went to work (at 21) hauling cars. In 1943 I went into the Navy.
I went to University of Illinois to Signal School, then moved over to Diesel School. I was sent to Melville, Rhode Island for the elite PT boat training. I left there for Norfolk, boarded an aircraft carrier headed for the Mediterranean. Pulled up to the dock in New York, broke. A guy in the same unit said he was an actor, and talked about Broadway plays. We didn’t pay much attention to him except that he got a box of cookies every day. I had money in the bank there in Plainview, but no checks. This guy said he could get me money if he had a bank account. We ended up at the Waldorf Astoria, the guy asked for Harry James. He wasn’t there, but the desk clerk inquired what we needed. We explained we needed to access money from an account in Arkansas but had no check. They altered a blank check with bank name and location, cashed a check for $20 – we were in the money
We left New York headed for Casablanca. We stayed there a few days. We weren’t supposed to go into the town, but we managed. We delivered planes, right down the street – some of us sitting on plane wings. We saw Casablanca, then moved by train for 8 days across North Africa. We were in the Mediterranean until after the invasion of France While on the PT boat I was assigned to squadron 15. PT boats were fast, you could haul 4 torpedoes on it. There were only 14 men on a PT boat.
The war ended and I came home to Flint, Michigan where I met my wife, a beautiful red head. We dated three weeks and got married. That’s pretty much my life up til then.
We all know that Louis loved to leave you with a story.
There are many more that will be treasured by those of us who loved him.