Howard Gerald McKinney Bartlett, TN Howard Gerald McKinney of Bartlett, Tennessee, passed away suddenly Sunday, March 12, 2017. He was born in Corinth, Mississippi, in 1939, where he loved the small town life as he followed his Grandpa Trimble around, soaking in his life advice. The family moved to Memphis when Gerald was in eighth grade. That year he met the girl who would become his wife, Glinda Palmer. They celebrated their fifty-five years of marriage in February. Their son, Howard "Judge" McKinney and wife Jacquie and their children, Hailey, Tucker, and Lizzy, to whom he was Grannen, assured that he lived a happy life in retirement. He graduated from Tech High School where he was a top scholar and made All-Memphis Basketball in 1958. He was a track athlete into adulthood, winning events around the country. He received his BS Degree from Memphis State University while working for the Memphis Park Commission, making that his career. He inaugurated Marquette Park summer playground, and helped run Peabody Community Center, eventually becoming Parks and Recreation Superintendent and then Director of the Parks Department, during the years when the parks and community centers were an important part of Memphis children's and adults' recreation. He worked with elected U. S. Representatives to secure grants for summer camps and other programs. He won many awards, among them the Fellow, highest in the state, and served as president of the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Society. Many NBA players came to the city at their own expense when he asked, to put on basketball camps for the Recreation program. He was a professional scout for the Atlanta Hawks Basketball team. After retiring from Memphis, he became Director of Recreation for Germantown, Tenessee, before being recruited to become Deputy Commissioner of Conservation and Environment and Director of Tennessee State Parks during Governor Ned McWherter's two terms. He also served on the National Board of State Parks. During these years he was a requested Keynote speaker for many events and was appointed to the President's Council on Physical Fitness, serving with Arnold Swartzeneger. Basketball was his avocation, and he helped coach the Memphis team which won the National Boys Division Two AAU Championship in 2013, as well as volunteering many hours at his church court. He was also a reader who often read several books a week. He was preceded in death by his parents, Curtis and Evia McKinney, sisters Carlotta McKinney and Ellen Rice, and brother William L. McKinney. He is survived by his sisters Anita Sherard (Leon) and Maxine Maxwell, as well as his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren, and lifelong friends, old friends, and so many who became his friend after spending a short time with him. Visitation will begin at 12:00 with Memorial Service at 1:00 Thursday afternoon at Bartlett United Methodist Church, 5676 Stage Rd. in Bartlett, which was a large part of his life. Reception will follow. Any memorials may be made to his church or to St. Jude Children's Hospital.
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