Dr. Edgar McKinney passed away Sunday, October 3, 2021, at his home in West Plains, Missouri.
He was born June 25, 1935 to Carman and Martha McKinney in rural Texas County, Missouri. He attended the one-room Grandview School, then graduated from Cabool High School.
He served in the Army from 1958 to 1960, and after returning home, he married Blanche Scheets on June 18, 1960, then began his college career. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, he taught one year at Jarrett Junior High School in Springfield, then transferred to Glendale High School where he taught ten years. During that time, he also completed his master’s degree in history.
In 1967 their son, Fredric Duane, was born, and in 1971 a daughter, Laura Elizabeth, was born but lived only five days.
In 1974 he and his wife and son moved to Yukon, Missouri, where they lived for 13 years. While there, they established a business, Yukon Antiques and Music, which focused primarily on bluegrass musical instruments. He became known for building guitars and mandolins and for doing outstanding repair work on instruments. They were honored to have a Martin Guitar dealership, and the highlight of many vacations was visiting the Martin factory in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
He loved playing the guitar, and over the years he formed several bands. One of them included four talented young musicians, and they were chosen to perform at a Lewis and Clark exhibition for the Missouri State Fair. His last performance was at Bull Shoals State Park in April, where his band played for a traveling group of RVers.
During his 13 years at Yukon, he was involved in operating the shop, teaching at two universities in the evenings, farming, serving occasionally as a substitute mail carrier, and serving on the boards for Raymondville School and for the Texas County Library System. Finally, his doctor advised him to choose just one occupation, and he chose teaching as his favorite, but he decided he wanted to earn his PhD. in order to do so. So they sold things at the farm and shop (although they kept the property for a few more years) and moved back to Springfield where Blanche found employment at Hillcrest High School, and for the next three years he went to the University of Missouri in Columbia on Mondays and often returned to Springfield on Fridays. After those three years of classwork, he spent the next year writing his dissertation and in 1990 was awarded the PhD.
After finishing his degree, he taught for a time on the Missouri State University campus in Springfield, but in 1994 he accepted a position as the head of the history department at the West Plains branch of Missouri State University. He loved that position and stayed for 21 years, retiring when he was 79.
Dr. Edgar McKinney is survived by his wife of 61 years, Blanche; his son, Fredric Duane, and his daughter-in-law, Rebekah, of West Plains; his sister, Karen, and brother-in-law, Dr. Dan Lawson, of Cleveland, Tennessee; two nephews, Dr. Matt Lawson of Franklin, Tennessee, and Miles Lawson of Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and one niece, Chandler Flynn of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Memorials may be made to Ozark Cemetery or Ozarks Heritage Resource Center, c/o Missouri State University, 304 W. Trish Knight, West Plains, MO 65755.
Visitation was Thursday, October 7, 2021, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Evans Funeral Home in Houston with graveside services with full military honors beginning at 2:30 p.m. at Ozark Cemetery under the direction of Evans Funeral Home with Randy Scheets and Pastor Kermit Lonning officiating. Pallbearers were David Branson, Mike White, Mike Williams, Benny Scheets, Darrell Scheets and Darren Scheets.