Thomas K. McKinney succumbed to Agent Orange ailments incurred as a young man while serving in the U.S. 'Brown Water Navy' on Vietnam's inland rivers as a Navy Weapons Combat Veteran on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, at his home in Bennington, Nebraska. A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 2, 2023, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Newton, Iowa. The family will greet friends from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at the church. Following the service burial and military honors will be held at Newton Union Cemetery. The family then invites everyone to join them at approximately 1:00 p.m. at the Newton American Legion for all of Tom’s favorite “Newton foods”.
Upon graduating from Newton High School, Tom attended College and then served in the U.S. Navy as a Weapons Fire Control Electronics Technician aboard (2) U.S. Navy Destroyers: USS John W. Thomason and the USS Maddox during the Vietnam War. Tom's ocean-going, brown-water Navy Destroyer patrolled South Vietnam's inland Nhabe River in the hostile Mekong Delta, Rung-Satarea (Swamp Of The Assassins). Per field radio spotters transmitted coordinates, Tom directed the ship's weapons fire for inland support protecting our U.S. Seals / Army and Marine Ground Troops as well as South Vietnamese Ground Troops. Tom received a personal commendation from the then Prime Minister of South Vietnam and the Secretary of the U.S. Navy, for his role in protecting both U.S. and South Vietnamese Ground Troops from hostile enemy forces with precise weapons fire protection from his Ship's big guns.
While returning home on leave Tom met his future wife, Mary Teed, of Colfax on an arranged blind date to Riverview Amusement Park. Magic! They married a few years later. Mary was Tom's Saving Grace for 50+ years.
Tom was employed by The Maytag Company where he started his career as an assembler in dishwasher assembly and one year later transferred to Industrial Engineering where, over the next 30 years, he advanced from Engineering Analyst to Engineer, to Special Project Engineer, retiring in 2004 from The Maytag Company. Tom then immediately began serving as a Project Engineering Consultant for 3 years first at Amana, followed by Maytag and Whirlpool-Newton Laundry Products until its close in 2007.
Tom was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, Jasper County Vietnam Veterans (past Officer), American Legion Post 111, and a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars VFW-Post 1655. He was a past member of U.A.W. - Local 997, Maytag Management Club (past President), Maytag Speech Club (past President), and during his Sons’ prior participation, was a Webelo Cub Scout Leader. Tom was also a 2011 Honor Flight Member, with Veterans of all wars, on their Monument viewing trip to Washington, D.C.
Tom liked to say that in “Cramming for His Finals” he filled the empty void in his life at age 60 by becoming a baptized member of Newton's Sacred Heart Catholic Church, ...in hopes that he could later earn a spot in the eternal 'No Smoking' section.
On Tom's Birthday (8/25/22), Mary and he moved to a brand new lake home in Nebraska, immediately next door to his Son Troy and his Family.
Tom’s surviving Family includes Mary, his Wife of 51 years; two Sons, Mike (Karyn) and Troy (MaryBeth) with two 'WOW' Grandchildren: Grandson Landon Thomas McKinney and Granddaughter Addie Mae McKinney, both of whom he loved to laugh with, as well as tease. Brothers & Sisters-in-law include Pat (Ronda) Teed, Marcia (Duane) Bruxvoort, Linda McKinney, and Cheryl McKinney.
Preceding Tom in death were Family Members: Father-In-Law Orval Teed (1992), Father Kenneth McKinney (2004), Mother-In-Law Freida Teed (2010), Brothers: Ed (2014) / John (2018), and his Mother Jennie Louise McKinney (2018). Also preceding Tom was his 'Best of Friends': Randy C., Steve J., Kevin M., Steve T., Bruce B., Denny W., and a host of four-legged heartthrobs, with fur, all of which enhanced Tom's life immensely.
Besides being a Husband, Father, Grandpa, Combat Veteran, and Engineer, Tom was also a pet lover. If you so choose, in lieu of flowers, consider Memorials to Jasper County Vietnam Veterans, American Legion Post #111, V.F.W. Post #1655, Sacred Heart's Children’s Ministries (Newton), or the Animal Rescue League of your choosing. Memorials may be left at the church the day of the service or at the Wallace Family Funeral Home and Crematory.
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