The Picayune Item
William Hubert McKee, Lt. Col, USAF Retired, passed away Saturday, February 9, 2013. He was a long time resident of Anchorage, Alaska, and a member of the “Greatest Generation.”
Bill was born on July 11, 1921 in Picayune Miss. He was one of nine children. His father, Hugh Kelsey McKee was a lawyer, and eventually became a judge. His mother Cammie Ferrill McKee was a school teacher.
Bill volunteered for the Army Air Corps, and was assigned to a squadron which flew the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. The squadron flew throughout Italy, Romania, Africa and many other places around the world. They were sometimes escorted by the now-famous Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black squadron flying P-51 Mustangs.
After WWII, Bill transferred to fighters and flew the North American P-51 Mustang. The Army Air Corps became the US Air Force while Bill was on active duty. He flew many missions during the Berlin airlift, while assigned as communications officer in charge of keeping the electronic gear operational in the C-47s and C-54s that hauled the supplies to Berlin.
After seven years in the Air Force (and Air Corps), Bill left the service as a 1st Lieutenant and enrolled in Engineering at the University of Alabama in 1949. He remained in the Air Force Reserve and with the advent of the Korean War in 1950, was recalled and sent to Alaska. He quickly decided it was his favorite place.
After the Korean War was over, he rejoined the Air Force reserve and continued to fly with them until his retirement as a Lt. Colonel. He was a member of the Alaska Air National Guard flying Fairchild C-123 Providers on skis for many years.
He earned a second Bachelors Degree in Business/Economic and his Airframe and Power Plant certificate. An avid aviator, he owned several small airplanes and flew regularly in and outside Alaska and routinely worked on his own aircraft.
He was a volunteer for many years with the National Ski Patrol skiing most weekends up through retirement age. In his civilian job, he was a government employee purchasing communication equipment and services for the Air Force.
Bill spent the final years of his life being cared for by “My Father’s House” assisted living facility and we thank them for their loving care.
Bill was preceded in death by: his beloved wife, Ruth; his siblings, James, Robert, Hugh Jr., Frank, Margaret and Catherine.
He is survived by: his sons and daughters-in law, Brendan and Rebecca McKee and Tim and Twylia McKee; grandchildren, Brian, Tony, Antonia and Kevin; and five great-grandchildren; his brother, Edward who lives in North Carolina; sister, Mary Jane McKee who still lives in Biloxi Miss.; and his sister-in-law, Ruby T. McKee of Torrance Calif.
Bill’s ashes will be interned at the Picayune, Mississippi Memorial Cemetery (Palestine), beside his beloved wife, Ruth. A military marker will be placed there at a later date.