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Jesse James McKinney, age 88, of Forest City, NC passed away on Friday, October 6th at Hospice of the Carolina Foothills. Jesse was born on October 18, 1934, to the late Glenn E. and Cora Lou McKinney. Jesse grew up in Spruce Pine, NC. He served his country in the United States Army in the Korean War (1954-56), being stationed in Tokyo, Japan, where he was involved in psychological warfare. He graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in accounting. He earned his Certified Public Accounting certificate in 1973 and worked in public accounting for several years. In 1975, Jesse established his CPA firm in Forest City, NC, serving and loving all his clients. He retired in 2000 to travel and enjoy his family whom he loved dearly.
Jesse is survived by his soulmate of 55 years, Beverly Cox McKinney, son James Morgan McKinney (Margaret) and daughter Kathryn McKinney McGowan (Terry). He was so proud of his grandchildren, Carter, Zander, and Marley McKinney, Kenbritt (Cassandra), Patrick, Kendall (Lauren), Olivia Mason, and Marshall McGowan. Added to his joy were his great grandchildren Kai and Suttyn McGowan. He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Anna Cox of Tampa, FL, Natalie Bailey of Johnson City, TN, and his birthday buddy/nephew Steven Glenn McKinney (Christy) of Huntersville, NC.
Preceding Jesse in death along with his parents were his brother Gus Clyde McKinney, brothers-in-law Richard L. Cox, Jr., and Ben Pat Bailey.
Jesse was a longtime member of St. Francis Episcopal Church. He served on the Vestry and served as treasurer. He was also a member of the church choir, the Joe Middleton Men’s Group, and the Altar Guild.
He was active in his community, serving on various committees (usually as treasurer). He was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Rutherford County Arts Council, a member of the Rutherford County Rotary Club, and the American Legion Post 74. He was very interested in the progress of the Town of Forest City, having been a member of the Forest City Merchants Association. Jesse served the students at East Rutherford High School by being a mentor for the Robert McNair Education Association for 19 years. In 1978 he became a Mason in Spruce Pine, NC, Post 554 and continued his journey to the Scottish Rite Valley of Charlotte as a 32nd Degree Mason. Also, in1978 he became a Nobel of the Oasis Shriners in Charlotte.
A Celebration of Life will be held at St. Francis Episcopal Church, 408 North Main Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139 on Saturday, October 14th at 4:00 pm. Internment will be in the St. Francis Memorial Garden. A reception with receiving of friends and family will follow the service in the Parish House across the street from the church. Memorials can be made to:
St. Francis Episcopal Church Restoration Fund, 395 North Main Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139.