Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Ronald (Ron) McKinley, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)December 19, 1938 – February 01, 2012
RON MCKINLEY – Ronald (Ron) McKinley was born December 19th, 1938, at home in Rochelle, GA. He passed away February 1, 2012. He was the son of William Ernest McKinley (a WW I vet) and Essie Dennison McKinley, both deceased.
Ron was active in the Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout and the God and Country Award. He graduated from Rochelle High School in 1956, and worked briefly for the Seaboard Airline Railroad in Jacksonville, FL. He attended the University of Georgia and graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He spent the next 28 years in the Air Force. His career carried him into all the 50 states and 15 foreign countries. He graduated from USAF Pilot Training in 1965 and flew B-52s for eighteen months before attending and graduating from the USAF Helicopter School in 1967. From there he went to Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base and flew the HH-3E Jolly Green Giant, long-range rescue helicopters for a year and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and five Air Medals for missions over South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. From there he was assigned to Naha AB, Okinawa and subsequently Kadena AB, Okinawa, still flying the HH-3E. He was deployed to South Korea in 1969 when the Russians shot down the Navy EC-121 near Vladivostok, USSR. He was sent back to South Vietnam in the spring of 1972 for the Anh Loc Offensive. He retired from George AFB, CA in 1988 with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Following his retirement, he and his wife Kandee started and operated several businesses under the name of Southwest Savvy. He did the design, layout and editing of more than twenty books for local authors in the Southern California area. Ron was active in the High Desert Woodworkers Association, the Inland Woodturners Association in Riverside, CA., and the Patriots Tea Party.
He is survived by his wife of more than 32 years, Kandee, and four daughters, Paige of Hampton, VA., Hallie of Tampa, FL., Amanda of Winter Haven, FL. and Honey of Austin, TX.
A private “Honoring of Life” will be held for family and close friends in March. In lieu of flowers, and because they are involved in charitable projects for which they need funds, please make a donation of any size to either: Inland Woodturners, 1245 Saffron Circle, Corona CA 92879 OR High Desert Woodworkers, 17224 Darwin #4, Hesperia, CA 92345
~ GUEST BOOK ~
March 31, 2012We have so many wonderful memories thru the years we knew Ron. Our very first memory is the day we met Ron and Kandee at Zzyzx. We returned to classes at Zzyzx and especially enjoyed and appreciated the photo class Ron taught. We shared a love of the desert and enjoy those permanent images we captured in our photos over the years. We are so grateful that Ron shared his beautiful turned wood pieces and the books that he took part in writing. Ron, thank you for enriching our lives. We miss you!~Richard & Jo Pope, Apple Valley, California
March 21, 2012Dad, I think about you every day and keep you alive in everything you taught me, in being strong and never giving up, in acting with honor and integrity, in memories of you laughing at me covered up-to-my-knees in mud after a ‘serious’ day of crabbing on the bridge. I love you and know that you still are shining bright, guiding me.~Honey McKinley, Austin, Texas
February 28, 2012Well Ron, you’ve gone West, but have left us with many fond memories. Kandee, Claudia and I will always remember the days when we were chasing them around the flag pole and finally caught them. It all started when we were at Luke AFB and you said “Jim, Kandee has this girlfriend Claudia, etc “. What a wonderful gift that turned out to be. You and Kandee will always be with us. Have a good flight my friend.~Jim Nelson, Peoria, Arizona
February 26, 2012A gentleman, a fine fellow aviator and a jolly good fellow. Ron will certainly be missed by his many friends. Our prayers and sympathy are with you Kandee.~Karen & Roger Berens, UPT Class 65H
February 26, 2012This was an intelligent, gifted man who was willing to share his talents with others. As a beneficiary of his time and teaching, Ron expanded my love of wood in new directions. His patience and humor made me more forgiving of my own mistakes. You are missed, Ron.~Liz Gersten, Apple Valley, California
February 26, 2012Ron was a great guy who I had a lot of adventures with on desert classes that went all over the Mojave. He had a real knack for seeing possibilities for things and thinking outside the box. The businesses he came up with were super creative and clever. The Williamsons will miss you bud. God Bless. Take care, Kandee.~Dave Williamson, Prescott, Arizona
February 25, 2012Dear Kandee, We are there with you in heart and spirit. We are so glad Ron kept in touch with us and especially his e-mails that we looked forward to. We are so proud to have called him friend for years since our school days. He certainly lived up to his potential and even went beyond in serving his country. Thank you for loving and taking such good care of our friend.~Maryanne and Bill Whatley, Rincon, Georgia
February 23, 2012Memories for all of us, Ron understood women and enjoyed being around them and could listen to their hopes and dreams, what a great listener you were. Ron, you always had a twinkle in your eyes that said…”let’s try it” if it was a new kind of food or drink or adventure. You loved living life with a smile and enjoyed life to the fullest. Kandee, you and Ron always had that special connection in the beginning. (I know because I was there the night you met him.) I know in my heart that we will all be together again enjoying all the adventures we once had together in Arizona. I will miss him. Love, Claudia~Claudia Nelson, Peoria, Arizona
February 23, 2012Kandee, although I have neither known your Ron very long or very well, it came to me that what I did know was primarily through you. You portrayed his sense of humor, quick wit, his love of Southern-isms and his patriotism with pride. You have lost your husband and dear friend and I hope the remembrance of his words comfort you and bring a smile to your face for years to come.~Essie Stenhouse, Apple Valley, California
February 22, 2012Dear Kandee and Honey, I am sorry for your loss. During this trying time, I am hoping you are (as I am) reflecting upon all of the wonderful times we have had together. I will never forget the great “margarita parties” you, Ron, my mom and dad had at Luke AFB housing. Honey and I were just little ones, but we sure had fun playing with JJ. Ron brought much joy and love to all of the people in his life. Love, Autumn~Autumn Rand, Mililani, Hawaii
February 20, 2012Dear Kandee, please know my thoughts, prayers and love are with you. May you find peace in the wonderful memories you have of Ron and also a special peace knowing that he couldn’t have better care than what he had with you as a caregiver. You treated him with love and dignity and it takes a special person to do that. Sending love and heartfelt sympathy my friend. Comforting Hugs, Pat~Pat L, Melrose, Massachusetts
February 20, 2012Ron was my boss for 6 months and a dear friend for life. He taught me a lot not as my boss but as my friend. I will miss him very much.~Thomas Van Petten, Littleton, North Carolina
February 20, 2012Dear Kandee, My thoughts and prayers are with you, I lost my wife 3yrs. ago. I sure enjoyed getting e-mail’s from Ron.~Bert, Norco,Ca.
February 19, 2012Kandee: Remember he loves you very much and that hasn’t changed. I’m one of those who believes he’s kicked back talking with old friends. Ron took the lead and in time we’ll catch up. In the meantime we’ll miss him.~Le and Avy, Baker, Ca
February 18, 2012Dear Kandee, It is with a truly heavy heart that we couldn’t be there to help you through your loss of a really great guy Ron. Our prayers and hopes go out to you in your time of sorrow and need.Your friends the Trotta’s~Sam & Lois Trotta, Boulder City, Nevada
February 17, 2012Dear Kandee, My heart reaches out to you because I know your loss is far greater than mine. I think of the times he and I spent together going to club events and our meetings. Or even just having a cocktail in his work shop. I will dearly miss my friend.Dusty~Dusty, Apple Valley, California
February 14, 2012Dearest Kandee, My arms are around you in love and the friendship we all have enjoyed over the last 30+ years. Never will forget the good times with the two of you. Ron really gave the ultimate price in serving his country. You will be in my heart forever. Much love, Bev~Beverly Collier, Tucson, Arizona
February 13, 2012Kandee, Jack and I were so sorry to hear about Ron. We will keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Please let us know if we can do anything to help.~Carolee