HARVEY, Mich. - Robert E. McKee, age 92, of 653 Lakewood Lane, Harvey, entered eternal life Monday afternoon, February 13, 2012, at his home, in the loving care of his wife and the caregivers of Lake Superior Hospice.
Born July 10, 1919 in Detroit, the son of Edwin and Julia Ethel (Shawk) McKee, Bob was raised in Detroit and graduated from the MacKenzie High School. He worked for a time in a tool and die shop while attending the University of Michigan, subsequently earning both his bachelors degree and masters degree in forestry and wildlife management. Upon graduation, he worked from 1949 to 1960 for the Firestone Company in Liberia, Africa. On May 25, 1951 he married the former Marjorie Ann Brand. The couple returned to Detroit where Bob continued working on his doctorate at Wayne State University while employed at the Detroit Zoological Park as curator of the Belle Isle Aquarium and Children's Zoo. Leaving the zoo, he moved to Marquette in 1975 and was employed at Peterson Glass in the capacity of designer and fabricator. He was especially skilled in stained glass and etching techniques, and several businesses and homes in the area boast of his artistic ability. He retired in the early 1980s. Marjorie preceded Bob in death in 1999. On August 16, 2002, Bob married the former Jenell P. (Gauthier) Meachum. Their marriage was blessed on June 2, 2003 at St. Louis the King Catholic Church in Harvey by Rev. Ben Paris. The couple made their home on Lakewood Lane, where they enjoyed gardening and building several raised beds for floral plantings. Bob's flower gardens were top-notch with Jenell working by his side in the vast gardens. Bob was a jack-of-all-trades and his hobbies and interests included, but were not limited to, woodworking, pottery, metal smithing, pencil drawings, carving and collecting birds and ducks. He was an avid stamp collector, enjoyed sports, especially baseball, football, and hockey, was a former Boy Scout leader, loved animals, and loved to sing. He and Jenell enjoyed traveling out West where they visited the beauty of Yosemite National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, traveling to Oregon to visit his sister, and taking vacations in Florida. The West, and especially the Hopi Indian Culture, held particular interest for Bob and he enjoyed carving Hopi Kachina dolls at home and eventually amassed a large and beautiful collection. With all his education, talent, and resourcefulness, Bob was a kind, intelligent, generous, and loving man. He loved the Lord and enjoyed sharing his knowledge and skills. He was happiest when in his own home with Jenell, visiting with close friends and relatives. His home was his castle, having designed its kitchen and patio. Bob was a member of St. Louis the King Catholic Church in Harvey where he attended many parish and Knights of Columbus activities. He was a veteran of World War II, having served in the U.S. Army.
Bob is survived by his loving wife, Jenell; daughters, Marjorie Mitzel of Tampa, FL and Monica (Daniel) Wilson of Harker Heights, TX; son, Andrew (Regina) Meachum of Yokosuka, Japan; his grandchildren, Steven (Emily) Mitzel, Tyson, Kameika, and Zavier Bagio, Cavahn, Lexyana, and Ryker Wilson, Ryan and Brendan Meachum, and grandson-Godson, Kenton Meachum; great-grandson, Parker Mitzel; his sister, Marion Koenig of Lake Oswego, OR; a nephew, Richard (Deb) Koenig of Lake Oswego, OR and niece, Kay (Peter) Dunkley of Washington, DC; his mother-in-law, Phyllis Gauthier of Traverse City; many brothers and sisters-in-law; several other nieces and nephews; and his canine companions, Molly and Buddy. In addition to his parents; and wife, Marjorie; Bob was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Russ Koenig; his father-in-law, Jim Gauthier; several brothers and sisters-in-law; and recently his canine companion, Toby.
Robert E. McKee
The family will receive relatives and friends at St. Louis the King Catholic Church in Harvey on Saturday, February 18, from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning with Rev. Ben Paris as celebrant, assisted by Deacon Gregg St. John and Deacon David Adler. Honorary escorts will be Ron Beckman, Steve Mitzel, Andrew Meachum, Daniel Wilson, Jon, Ben, and Jeff Gauthier. A reception will follow in Father Gauthier Hall. Inurnment will be made in the Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the St. Louis the King Church Building Fund, 264 Silver Creek Road, Marquette, MI 49855 or the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter, P.O. Box 968, Marquette, MI 49855.
The family wishes to express special appreciation to the staff and caregivers of Lake Superior Hospice for the many kindnesses extended to Bob and Jenell. You are a blessing!
The Fassbender Funeral Home is serving the family. Condolences may be expressed online at www.fassbenderfuneralhome.com.