Willard Martin “Willie” McKinney
Willard Martin “Willie” McKinney, age 72, of Shelby, died Saturday morning, February 25, 2023 at Avita Health System- Galion Hospital following a brief and unexpected illness. Although Willie had a lifetime of health complications, he was always a fighter and survivor who continually had a strong desire and will to live.
Willie was born August 21, 1950 in Shelby to the late Ross and Vivian (Bly) McKinney. A 1968 graduate of Shelby High School, he furthered his education at North Central Technical College earning an associate degree in mechanical engineering. Willie was a firefighter for the Shelby Fire Department from April 2, 1972 – November 16, 1991 at which time he retired. On off days from the department, he worked at Robinson’s Hardware in Shelby as a small engine mechanic- something he also did as a hobby for neighbors and friends at his home workshop.
Willie was quite the storyteller who had an outstanding memory and impressive mathematic skills. He was a Cleveland Indians fanatic and loved everything outdoors- especially going to the woods to cut firewood and relaxing on his porch at home. Willie took up bike riding when driving was no longer an option and logged over 2,000 riding miles. He also thoroughly enjoyed watching westerns and especially loved spending time with his grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Chandra Gwen (Biettner) McKinney, whom he wed September 10, 1976; daughter and son-in-law: Candace and Nathan Blunk; grandchildren: Juliana and Cassidy; sister: Kathy (Jim) Fidler; brothers-in-law: Scott (Heidi) Biettner and Shawn (Sherri) Biettner; nieces and nephews: Scott Rush, Jonathan (Kelly) Rush, Kyle (Charlie) Cooke, Kari (John) Nettle, Gabe Biettner, Ella Biettner, Kurt Biettner; and other relatives and friends. In addition to his parents, Willie was preceded in death by his sister: Carolyn Lee Rush.
Family and friends are welcome on Thursday, March 2, 2023 from 5-8 pm at the Penwell Turner Funeral Home, 168 West Main Street, Shelby where funeral services will be held on Friday, March 3, 2023 at 11 am. Pastor David Rentzel, Pastor of Abundant Life in Ontario, will officiate the services with burial following in Oakland Cemetery. Willie was an animal lover who adored his pets. For that reason, those wishing may make a memorial contribution to the Richland County Human Society via their website, https://adoptourstrays.com/support-us/.
Online condolences may be left on Willie’s obituary on the funeral home’s website, www.PenwellTurner.com, or their Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/PenwellFuneral.
To view Willie’s tribute video, click the link provided: https://www.tributeslides.com/tributes/show/BLS889RNXY3MGHJ3