Written by Bob McKee, Jr.
My father, Bob McKee senior, passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 92 early Monday morning, May 6, 2013 surrounded by his family. He had a full life and is survived by his loving wife Loretta, 4 sons, Matt (wife Wilma), Tim (wife Trish), Mike (wife Arlene), and Bob (partner Jennifer), ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He also leaves many, many good friends behind.
Dad was born and grew up in the small farming community of Sargent, Nebraska. He endured the trials of the Great Depression and learned the hard way not spend more than you make, and he actually joined the circus as a young man. He was a Chief Radioman on a Navy minesweeper during WWII. Dad didn’t talk very much about the war as many veterans don’t because of the terrible memories.
Dad’s technical training in the Navy led him in a career path first with the Idaho Power Company, then the aircraft industry in Los Angeles, and eventually the Friden/Singer Corporation where he was on the development team that introduced the Flexo-writer, an automated typewriter and the forerunner of modern word processors.
Later in life Dad decided to try his luck at selling houses as a realtor in San Diego, a path he quickly concluded wasn’t at all to his liking. So wife Loretta and Dad decided they might purchase a hardware store and headed out to evaluate hardware stores that were for sale in California.
The story that I was told is that as Mom & Dad crested the hill near Bill and Hanks Automotive, Mom decided instantly without even seeing what is now North Fork Hardware, that this is where she wanted to settle. The view reminded her of growing up in Michigan, and the rest is history. Mom & Dad purchased the hardware store and ran it together until son Robert (me) purchased the store so they could retire some 23 years ago.
Mom & Dad have always been active in their community attending just about every event held at Town Hall. One would often see Mom & Dad working the room saying hello to old friends, shaking hands, and hugging a lot. They were selected as Grand Marshals of the Loggers Jamboree and were very active in their church.
Customers ask me about my Mom & Dad even after all these years. They both made an impression on their community. Dad’s quick wit, humor, and his compassion are his legacy. I am occasionally visited by previous employees who go on and on about how much they thought of my parents and were grateful for the experience.
My Dad was constantly on the go. I’ll always remember him as a man who could hardly sit still. He was always organizing, cleaning something, working in the garden, and clearing out the confounded storage shed that always seem to fill up with stuff. The last few months have been tough for Dad being in so much pain and for his loving wife Loretta, my Mom, who cared for him tirelessly up to his last days on this earth.
Dad, many people will miss you, rest peacefully.