John Stuart McKay
ORANGE CITY, Fla. — John Stuart McKay passed away at John Knox Village in Orange City, Fla., on December 27th, 2012, at the age of 92.
He was predeceased by his mother Kenneth Sada Little McKay, second wife Teek Rice McKay and third wife Frankie Haldane McKay.
John is survived by his first wife Charlotte Hancox McKay, and fourth wife Florence McKay.
John is lovingly remembered by his children through Charlotte, David McKay, Michael McKay, and Jeffrey McKay. His marriage to Teek brought David Rice Sr., Butch Rice, and Jane Rice into the family. His daughters-in-law Michelle McKay, Ann Rice, Patricia McKay, Susan Rice and Jean McKay. His grandchildren David McKay Jr., Heather McKay, Adair Rice Jackson, David Rice Jr., Kendra Rice, and Jordan Rice Walton and Bill Bolling Jr. His great-grandson Cade Rice Jackson.
John was born in New York City, NY, on January 11th, 1920. He attended Howe Military academy, and graduated from University School Prep school, Cleveland Ohio. He attended college at Bowdoin University, Maine, and graduated in 1942 with a degree In English.
As with most males of his age and generation he entered the Army in October 1942 shortly after graduation. He was attached to the First Army Headquarters during World War II and landed in Normandy on D-Day. He was responsible for reporting news of the status of the First Army as it progressed from Normandy to Germany during the war. His reports were published in Army news publications and in Stateside publications.
After the war he became a route salesman for Sexton Foods and purchased his first farm in Lerona, W.Va. In 1955 he purchased the King Tut Drive-In in Beckley. He also owned the Eatwell Café in downtown Beckley, and managed a restaurant in the Bowlwick Bowling alley for a time. He owned and managed King Tut until 2004 when he passed the business off to the family.
John enjoyed skiing and never missed an opportunity to go when the weather permitted. He enjoyed it so much that in the mid-1960s he partnered with some friends and started the Bald Knob Ski Area near Flat Top. John took up Christmas tree farming in the 1970s and was harvesting up to 10,000 trees per year for a time. John was raising five boys at the time and the family suspects he started the farm just to keep his sons busy. Regardless, many of Beckley’s young men learned how to work at that tree farm over the years. The McKay/Rice tree farm is still managed by the family today.
John’s greatest joy was watching his family grow up, marry, and get together at the farm on annual family events. He presided over sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren in a caring and thoughtful manner. He had his peculiarities though. At King Tut he enjoyed chatting with customers on the curb. He spent more time with his customers than he did in the business on some days. He was a wonderful cook, but all of his family learned to stay out of his kitchen when he was cooking, and no one ever, ever, ate the last egg!
Per John’s wishes he will be interred at the Christmas tree farm in Pluto, West Virginia.