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Obit – Mr. Billy Clark McKinney

Mr. Billy Clark McKinney age 76 of the Elmwood Community was pronounced deceased at 10:05 a.m. Tuesday morning September 5, 2023 at the Ascension St. Thomas West Hospital in Nashville where he was admitted Friday September 1st following a period of declining health.

Funeral services for Mr. McKinney were conducted at 1:00 P.M. Saturday afternoon, September 9th from the Carthage Chapel of Sanderson Funeral Home. Bro. Dickie Johnson, Bro. Jimmy Gibbs and Eld. James T. Gibbs officiated. Interment followed in the McKinney family lot in the Garden of the Cross at Smith County Memorial Gardens.  

Born July 10, 1947, in the old McFarland Hospital in Lebanon, he was the only child of the late Walter James “Jim” McKinney who died at the age of 59 on December 5, 1983 and Pauline Vaden McKinney who died at the age of 83 on July 15, 2010. 

Mr. McKinney was saved in 1960 during a revival meeting at the Caney Fork Missionary Baptist Church and was baptized in the waters of Peyton’s Creek into the full fellowship of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in the Elmwood Community by the late Eld. Kenneth Gibbs.  

He overcame polio as a child and a very serious car accident in 1969.  At the Age of 5 years old he made the Nashville papers while a polio patient at then Vanderbilt Hospital where he was presented a king size all day sucker by then Isaac Litton High School Tackle John Gordy.  He often laughed at the photo of him in only his underwear and leg brace.  

Mr. McKinney attended Carthage Elementary School and was a member of the 1966 graduating class at Smith County High School. He majored in science and was in the chorus, Spring Festival and the junior play, all which occurred his junior year.

An outdoorsman, when he was a young man, he enjoyed hunting and fishing and became an avid golfer.  

He enjoyed politics and the occasional argument with his friends.  He enjoyed catching up on all the latest news at the Hardees Roundtable.  

Mr. McKinney was a member of the Smith County Board of Education representing District 8 during the 1980’s.  

He was employed with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for over 31 years before his first retirement. 

He then began work with his lifelong friend, Elmwood Community native and Wilson County Road Superintendent Steve Armistead, His job with the Wilson County Road Commission would last for nineteen years before his final retirement due to multiple back surgeries.  

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his grandparents, Walter McKinney who died at the age of 74 on May 5, 1950 and Alma Clark McKinney who died at the age of 78 on June 2, 1965 and Meridith Thomas Vaden who died February 5, 1959 at the age of 83 and Virginia Pearl “Jenny” Dickens Vaden who died May 12, 1943 at the age of 59. 

Also preceding him in death were his father-in-law, Hilary Lee Hesson died at the age of 74 on October 28, 1992 and his mother-in-law, Edna Massey Hesson died at the age of 87 on October 5, 2006.; and sisters in law, Nancy (Frank) Fowler and Paulette (Mack) Metcalf.

Surviving in addition to his wife, Judy Hesson McKinney of over fifty three years, is their only son, Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home co-owner, Walter Clark McKinney. Also surviving are several cousins, nieces, and nephews.  

Memorials may be made to New Salem Missionary Baptist Church or to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.


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