Monday, October 5, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church
32765 Lyndon Street
Livonia, MI 48154
*Instate 10:00 am till the time of service at 11:00 am
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Life Story / Obituary
With quiet determination, unwavering focus, and deep gratitude, Edward G. McKinley lived a life rich in family and faith. Ed proved a powerful role model for all who were blessed to know him. He was kind, respectful, and caring. He never said an unkind word about anyone or cast them in a negative light. Ed welcomed each day as a gift and understood that life’s greatest treasure was the gift of family. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Ed found deep contentment in sharing time with those he loved.
Despite the gloom of the Great Depression, the 1930s held a power of hope in the hearts of many. With the drive to face uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to create a better future. Born on March 29, 1928, in Saginaw, Michigan, Ed’s life was built upon the firm foundation of growing up during this extraordinary time of challenge and hope.
The oldest of the three McKinley children, Ed enjoyed his childhood with brother, Bill, and sister, Margaret. At a very young age, Ed began raising Dutch rabbits for show in a barn in the family’s back yard, sending them by train to various shows. He built and raced a soapbox derby car and purchased his first share of GM stock at the age of 12.
In 1940, the McKinleys bought a cottage on Tawas Bay which began their tradition of spending summers there. While Ed, Bill, Margaret and their mother stayed all summer, their father would travel by train to join them on weekends. The family converted their rowboat, named “MarBillEd”, into a sailboat. The love of sailing soon inspired a love for competition, and Ed began racing regularly. He first raced a Snipe. Later, when a group of Tawas Bay sailors started a Lightning fleet to race, the McKinleys bought one of the boats that were shipped there by train. They named their Lightning “Humbug.” In time, Ed became a skilled Lightning competitor winning many races with his brother, Bill, earning much sailing success both locally and nationally.
Ed graduated from St. Andrew’s High School in 1946. While earning his Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration at the University of Detroit, Ed’s father died suddenly. Despite this tragedy, he continued his studies and completed his degree.
In October 1951, Ed was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. During his two years of service, he was assigned to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland and became a record keeper for the officer in charge of training troops in leadership. While on a two-month assignment in Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Ed took his Penguin class sailboat with him to maintain his sailing skills. Ed continued his education at Michigan State University after discharge from the Army, completing his Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Following graduation, Ed began working at Eaton Manufacturing in the Production Planning Department in Saginaw.
Ed had the good fortune of meeting the love of his life, Donna Troy, at a Catholic Singles function. On October 8, 1960, the happy couple exchanged their wedding vows in a marriage ceremony at St Mary’s Cathedral in Saginaw. The newlyweds were blessed with three children: Mary, Edward Jr., and Ann. In his early 40’s, Ed left his job at Eaton to sell insurance and buy small apartment buildings to own and manage. This allowed him to join Donna and the kids every day for lunch while moving toward his goal of self-employment.
Ed was a hardworking, quiet man who rarely raised his voice and never swore. Calling the kids “rum dumbs” when they were not focused on a task was the worst thing he said. Thriftiness was also a cornerstone of his parenting, using signature phrases ‘‘Save your money” and “Don’t spoil yourself”. An example of Ed’s thriftiness was a pair of 1970s-era rust-orange colored polyester pants which he wore well into the 1980s. The kids often joked about burning these pants because they were ugly and wouldn’t wear out. Ed used any opportunity he could to instill important values. When he was playing ping pong or checkers against the kids, he never went easy on them just so they could win. In any competition, he was always gracious, whether in victory or defeat and he wanted his children to understand this.
In the mid-1970s Ed decided to restart his hobby of showing rabbits to spend more time with Ed Jr and Ann. Ed figured out a way to incorporate a small rabbitry (12 cages) into the family’s suburban garage. Later, he bought a run-down house to renovate and rent out while retaining the use of the detached garage as a second rabbitry.
After the kids left home, Donna and Ed built a house on some farmland that allowed Ed to have a dedicated bunny barn. When he was forced to retire from managing apartments due to heart problems, his rabbit showing became his focus. Never one to rest on his laurels, Donna would say that any hobby Ed started quickly turned into a business. When Donna bought a computer, Ed said that it was “just a toy.” He soon realized it could be a tool for his bunny operation, allowing him to track rabbit breeding and pedigrees. Ed began using Donna’s computer more and more eventually adding software which crashed the computer. Donna, angered having lost much of her genealogy research, bought another computer for herself, and Ed kept her original one.
In 2003, Donna and Ed moved from their lifelong city of Saginaw to South Lyon to be closer to their kids and grandkids. They picked a rural area because Ed could again have a bunny barn right out the back door. He continued his decades-long success in producing winning rabbits. He became a Life Member of the Michigan State Rabbit Breeders Association and the Michigan Dutch Rabbit Club, and was inducted into the American Dutch Rabbit Club Hall of Fame in 2003.
A lifelong Catholic, Ed never wavered in his faith. He was grateful for his good fortune, especially his family and health. Rarely complaining, Ed supported his loved ones in their interests. For years he attended classical music concerts because Donna enjoyed them. One time, he joked during an encore, “I hope they know a short one.” Ed’s devotion to Donna never waned. In their final years together when she developed dementia, Ed would often forego activities at their senior facility so that she would not be left alone.
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Ed’s steadfast and loving presence. May we find much comfort in the honor of carrying the best of his legacy forward. With each day we welcome as a gift, every challenge we confidently meet, and all the moments we cherish with our loved ones, we celebrate the many ways Ed gifted our lives. In so doing, we keep his memory alive and inspire others as he so inspired us.