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Columbia Missourian

Kyle Micah McKinney remembered for humility

By Jessica Smith
January 27, 2012 | 7:40 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Throughout his life, Kyle Micah McKinney was a humble man. He loved his friends, and he never made a big deal about anything.

"He was comfortable with his friends and with himself," Steve Dittmer, an old friend from high school, said. "He was just the type of guy you love hanging around with."


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Mr. McKinney, 49, of Andover, Mass., died Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, while undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma.

Mr. McKinney was the youngest son of Loretta Williams, the first African American female faculty member at MU.

He was born in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The family moved to Columbia when Mr. McKinney was 13, and he graduated from Hickman High School in 1979.

During his time at Hickman Mr. McKinney loved to play sports. "We would play racquetball, basketball and tackle football," Dittmer said. "Kyle was such a big guy though, he was always beating us."

The friends also enjoyed going down to Easley and spending time by the Missouri River.

Dittmer said that though Mr. McKinney was a year younger than he was, he was the first of the two to graduate. He then received his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his graduate degree from Stanford University.

In 2009, Mr. McKinney traveled back to Columbia for his high school reunion. There, he was reunited with Dittmer for the first time in almost 20 years.

"He was the same guy in 2009 that he was in 1979, which is something you don't find too often," Dittmer said. "He was still humble and down to earth, despite everything that he had accomplished." 

Gene Robertson, a friend of Mr. McKinney's mother, described Mr. McKinney as open and inquisitive about everything in the world. "He was personable, and he had a lot of humility," Robertson said. "He was the kind of person that you want your son to be."

Mr. McKinney is survived by his mother, Loretta Williams; his stepmother, Nancy E. McKinney; his mother-in-law, Doris Zachary; his wife, Michelle Zachary McKinney; two daughters, Nicole McKinney and Miriam McKinney; a son, Maxwell McKinney; his brothers, Theos McKinney III and wife, Sylvia, and  Kenelm McKinney and wife, Gweneth; brother-in-law Louis Zachary; sister-in-law Cherie Zachary; nieces and nephews Aubrey, Deren, Kieran and Esme, and other relatives, Karena and her husband Chris, Alythea, and Rebekah.

His father, Theos D. McKinney Jr., died earlier in 2006.

Visitation will be at 5 p.m. Saturday at the family's home in Andover, Mass.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance, 284 Amory St., Boston, MA 02130.