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John Eugene McKinley

October 9, 1937 November 30, 2018
John Eugene McKinley
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Obituary for John Eugene McKinley

John Eugene McKinley
October 9, 1937 – November 30, 2018

John Eugene (Gene) McKinley died peacefully at home in Boerne, Texas, November 30, 2018, at the age of 81 in the arms of his beloved Nancy after a long battle with Interstitial Lung Disease. Born October 9, 1937 in Albia, Iowa to William and Helen (Mamie) McKinley, McKinley is widely credited for his contributions and body of work in the choral arts and the visions that lead to the creation of what is now the Iowa Choral Directors Association.
A graduate of St. Ambrose University (BM) and the University of Northern Iowa (MA), “Chief” began his teaching career as a high school choral director in West Branch and later Independence, Iowa. His enthusiasm for choral music and integrity to musicianship led to appointments as the Director of Choral Activities at Iowa Central Community College, Associate Director of Choral Activities at the Ohio State University and Director of Choral Activities at Del Mar College. In addition to his work in music education, musicians sang under his baton with the Fort Dodge Choral Society (IA) and the Corpus Christi Chorale (TX) in addition to various churches in the communities he lived.
McKinley sang in workshops with his hero Robert Shaw, who alongside with friend and mentor Weston Noble, remained strong influences throughout his life. McKinley’s legacy now lives on in the lives of countless music educators throughout the country. He will be remembered as an amazing man with extraordinary musical talent who gave life to notes on a page and remained a strong positive influence in the lives of many students and colleagues with whom he shared his love of music.
McKinley was fiercely proud of his children Elizabeth McKinley Watkins of Columbus, OH; Shannon Segreto (Gary) of Delaware, OH; Bridget McKinley (Drew Wright) of Austin TX and Sean McKinley of Los Angeles CA; and grandchildren Meredith, Claire and Audrey Watkins, Catherine and Michael Segreto and Devin and Nola McKinley- Wright. He deeply loved Nancy and her children Katie, Christopher and Laura.
A celebration of life will be held Friday, December 14, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Helena's Episcopal Church, 410 N. Main St., Boerne, TX. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Ambrose University Music Department ( or Conspirare ( To leave condolences for the family, please visit and select Obituaries. Arrangements with Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home of Boerne.

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Celebration of Life




1:30 PM 12/14/2018 1:30:00 PM
St. Helena's Episcopal Church

410 N. Main Street
Boerne, Texas 78006

St. Helena's Episcopal Church
410 N. Main Street Boerne 78006 Texas
United States

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