Robert Willie McKinney

Robert Willie McKinney passed away at home, on Monday April 19, 2021, at 10:52 AM. Bob was born in Warren, Arkansas on April 25, 1931, to Samuel and Mildred McKinney. He graduated from Warren High School and was a good student, a small but natural athlete, and a thespian. His drama teacher really wanted him to attend acting school. For a year, after high school, he worked as a cook at the local Drive-In. His burgers were so good, that another business wanted him to be their cook, but Bob remained loyal to the owner of the local Drive-In.

In 1951, Bob joined the United States Air Force. He had an amazing physical transformation during his first two years in the service. He grew in height by 3 inches, or more. Upon a visit home, his family and friends were amazed by his change in physique.

In 1953, Bob met his wife Lottie, at Neubiberg Air Force Base, in Germany. Lottie was secretary to the Base Commander.  Bob proposed to Lottie, through the Base Commander, but Lottie was embarrassed and simply laughed it off, by saying Bob was too young. However, Bob was a man of persistence and he captured her heart, when he carefully freed an owl wrapped in fishing line, which they had stumbled upon near the edge of a marsh.

Bob served in the Air Force for 21 years and achieved the rank of Master Sergeant. During his Air Force career, Bob and Lottie were stationed in Germany, Florida, Indiana, Kansas and Oregon. Bob served in Thailand during the Vietnam War. While living in Europe, their journeys included Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Italy was a favorite and included trips to the Mediterranean Sea.

Bob retired from the Air Force in 1972. Bob and Lottie settled in Seattle, partly because it reminded them of Germany. In 1972, he started working at the US Customs office, located in Seattle. He was a mail inspector and worked another 20 years before retiring in 1991. Shortly after retirement, they built a home located near the top of North Hill, in Des Moines, WA. They had many fun adventures together, including a passion for mushroom hunting. They also loved entertaining friends, at their home overlooking the Puget Sound.

Bob was very jovial and gregarious. He was a friend to everyone he met. He walked at the Des Moines marina on most mornings, with his many friends (both guys and gals). For many years, during his morning walks, he fed scores of ducks and a rooster.

Bob was loved by so many people in the community that he was jokingly referred to as the “Mayor of North Hill”. Bob will be missed by his wife, Lottie, his many friends and his numerous nieces and nephews.


4 Responses to “Robert Willie McKinney”

  • Allen J Doepel says:

    Bob was such a caring person. He lived a wonderful life and touched the lives of many. Bob was rather like a 2nd dad to me. Love you, Bob♥️

  • Carl & Jamie Dombek says:

    We frequently ran into Bob during his walks around the neighborhood. “Gregarious” described him to a “T”! What a fine gentleman; he will be missed.

  • Rae Crider says:

    I first met Bob at the Seattle Aimail Facility in the 80s, where he worked for Customs and I for the US Postal Service. Every six weeks I went to the AMF to monitor mail coming off the airlines. Bob always had a story and/or kind words. When I retired I changed my walking routine from evenings to mornings and discovered Bob also walked every morning. Our friendship continued and I looked forward to my daily conversations with Bob. I enjoyed another 14 years of his laughter & wit. Almost the same age as my dad, he was my second dad. I continue to walk at the marina & miss Bob every day. The essence of Bob is clearly illustrated in the photo under his obit. RIP dear Bob. ❤️

  • Nick J Fiorito says:

    I just recently found out about Bob’s passing, I worked with Bob at the U.S. Customs Service for many years, Bob was such a nice man who had many stories to tell and was so helpful to me and so many others. My condolences to Lottie and all the rest of his family and friends.

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