Lottie Ingeborg Maria McKinney


image of Lottie Mckinney

Lottie Mckinney

Lottie Ingeborg Maria McKinney passed away peacefully in her home, on Sunday May 28, 2023, at 8:30 PM, at the age of ninety-five. She was preceded in death by her late husband Robert W. McKinney, who passed away two years earlier. Though Lottie and Bob had no children, they had many dear friends and   extended family.

Lottie was born in Munich, Germany, on April 13, 1928, to Wilhelm Joseph Fischer and Maria Johanna Wild. She was an only child. Her early childhood was spent in the cities of Munich, Mannheim and Nuremberg, Germany.

In 1939, at age eleven, Lottie’s family moved to Vienna, Austria, for her father’s new job as editor of a German news digest. Lottie’s middle childhood and teenage years were spent in Vienna; and despite the tumultuous years of World War II, she excelled in school and cultivated a keen interest in music, art and architecture. In school, she mastered English, as a second language. This skill proved to be of significant benefit, in her adult years.

Near the end of the war, Lottie’s father returned to Germany. Lottie’s mother chose to remain in Vienna. Lottie now a young lady (a blossoming “Fraulein”) chose to remain in Vienna, as well. Lottie’s mother and father maintained separate lives, thereafter.

At the end of the war, and desperate to secure a job, Lottie used her smarts and her interest in music to land a job as a junior secretary, for a music recording studio situated near the Vienna Opera House. Her ability to speak and write English afforded her the interesting assignment of serving as interpreter to visiting American Jazz artists, whose music was being recorded at the studio.

In and around 1949, while visiting her Mother’s parents, near Munich, Lottie saw a job posting, in the local newspaper. It was for a combined secretary and English-German interpreter for the Unites States Air Force.

On a whim, she applied and to her great surprise was offered the job. There was one catch. She had lost her identity papers, which proved her nationality. With the help of a high level dignitary, whom she had  met in Vienna, she was able to quickly receive a replacement identity card. She also passed the subsequent background check. Lottie was now a civil servant working for the USAF, at Neubiberg Air Force Base, located just south of Munich, Germany.

After a few short years, Lottie became Secretary to the Base Commander. In 1953, she had the good fortune of meeting her soon to be husband, Staff Sargent Robert W. McKinney. Bob was smitten at first sight. In order to get procurement costs approved, Bob would have to get past Lottie, and to the Base Commander.  A short while later, Bob proposed to Lottie, through the Squadron 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 and Lottie were married on April 3, 1954, in the town of Neubiberg, Germany. They honeymooned in Italy, at Lake Como. Because it was considered a conflict of interest, for the spouse of Military personnel to be Civil Servants, Lottie was forced to resign from her job.

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

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

Lottie was such an intelligent and inquisitive person. Her many interests and creative talents included painting, poetry, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, floral arrangements, gardening and home decorating. She had a great sense of humor and an engaging personality. She could also show you the door in a flash, if she felt you were overstepping your bounds.

She was a very independent person. During the last year of her life, her need for independence was respected, as much as possible, by loving caregivers. She passed away in the house she loved and designed, surrounded by her gardens, fresh flowers and art work. She took her last breaths with Schubert’s “Ave Maria” playing in the background. She so loved classical music.

Lottie became a naturalized citizen of the United States, in 1959. She was very proud of this. She served as an interpreter for the United States Air Force, when Ramstein Air Force Base, in Germany, was under construction. She received a certificate of recognition for her distinguished contribution to the 1976 Washington State Bicentennial Needlework contest.

Lottie was featured in a Bonappetit magazine picture while delivering a bountiful harvest of Chanterelle mushrooms to the stall vendors at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. For many years, she and Bob would take fun trips to their secret forest locations, to pick Chanterelles. It was an exciting hobby that they shared together. It provided them a fun opportunity to commune with nature, in the great outdoors of the Northwest’s Cascade mountains. She was also featured in a news article, published in the Georgia “Valdosta Times” newspaper, for her creativity and ingenuity in decorating her home from recycled materials and for creating tin lanterns and doing crewel embroidery art.

Lottie was known for hosting fabulous dinner parties, decorated perfectly, with themes to match each occasion. She was a force of nature who would sweep you up into her world and make you forget there was a world outside her home. She was an amazing story teller and would recount the many adventures she experienced throughout her life. These included many fascinating stories about her childhood and her teenage years growing up in Vienna, during the war.

Lottie, you are admired and loved by those who had the good fortune to share a portion of your life!


6 Responses to “Lottie Ingeborg Maria McKinney”

  • Rob kyle says:

    Bob and Lottie was the perfect couple. They were both extremely generous and polite with such a great sense of humor and humility.

    Every marriage should aspire to be like what Bob and lottie had: a timeless love for each other and life.

    I sorely miss them both and Lottie especially was like a blood relative to me. I hope they are together now and forever.

  • Susann Betts (Nycole's Mom&Rob's Mom in law) says:

    Dear Lottie,
    I met you & Bob a few times at Nycole & Rob’s. I wish your stories were recorded. You had one of the most interesting childhoods I’ve ever known. A truly strong, resourceful lady, you are such a model of creating a new life, living the best life, & sharing marriage of love with all. You are missed. We’ll never see the likes of you & Bob again. May your love continue & rest in our memories.

  • Robert and Ruth Bayley says:

    Ah, Bob and Lottie. For years the two of them, the two of us, and a Swiss friend would have dinner at their home once a month. Lottie told us so many stories over so many years that her obituary reads like a retelling of all of them and of life fully lived. Lottie, Frieda and Ruth would sing familiar songs in German. Frieda passed away last year and now Bob and Lottie are both gone. Auf wiedersehen liebe Freunde.

  • Sandra McKinney Toole says:

    Aunt Lottie was one of my favorite aunts. I remember visiting she and Uncle Robert when they lived in Valdosta, Ga. She had fun things for me to do as a teen and doted on me. I also remember when she and Uncle Robert would come back to Arkansas for a visit. We loved to listen to her speak and she was always fun to be around. Rest in peace sweet Aunt.

  • Onicka Trim says:

    I have known Lottie for over a year. She was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She was full of laughter,would always make fun of herself and never got offended by anything. Lottie I will miss your jokes and your storytelling! Keep on sleeping my dear friend.

  • Onicka Trim says:

    I have known Lottie for about a year. She was one of the sweetest people I’ve met. We would sit for hours telling stories, watching garden shows and America’s Got Talent. Lottie had such a great sense of humor, one who never got offended by anything and would always make fun of herself. Lottie, I will miss your jokes and storytelling. Keep on sleeping my friend.

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