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Thelma McKinney, ROAN MOUNTAIN

Published July 2nd, 2013 11:00 pm

Found written on paper in her Bible: “Death is simply putting out a candle because morning has come ... and, For me, death was God opening a door and I walked through to Glory.”
Thelma Cordell McKinney, 95, Roan Mountain, passed away Monday, July 1, 2013, in the Pine Oaks Assisted Living, Johnson City, following an extended illness.
She was a native of Carter County (Shell Creek Community) and lived in Roan Mountain (Heaton Creek) for 66 years. She was a daughter of the late Jack & Betty Riddle Cordell. She was a member of Burbank Freewill Baptist Church.
Mrs. McKinney touched innumerable lives through her many years of volunteering at church, PTA, substitute teaching and overall involvement in her community. She hosted numerous evangelists and their families, always loving to place a delicious home-cooked meal on the table for them. One of her great joys was taking food to homes where there was a death and sometimes “pitching in” and doing what needed to be done in the kitchen.
Thelma was a member of the Carter County Farm Bureau for 40 years, serving as a member of the Board of Directors for much of that time. She was active in the PTA, both at the local and state levels. The John Carter Chapter of the DAR was another one of her community involvements. She served as Chaplain for the Chapter. Over the years, one of the jobs she was often asked to do for these organizations was the Installation of Officers and her creativity in developing those ceremonies was amazing. She was always involved in her class reunion planning and frequently participated in or led Bible Studies in the Roan Mountain Community.
She had a thirst for learning and keeping her mind active. In the mid-50s she took on the job of teacher, principal, meal-planning and all record keeping of the (then) three-room school in the Burbank Community. Over the years, she delighted in playing Scrabble, Boogle, watching “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” and doing word search puzzles.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband: Doug McKinney; Four Sisters: Dora Boone, Lala Shell, Bea Blevins and Lillie Mae “Pill” Burrow; two brothers: Vernon “Pat” Cordell and Will Cordell. She was also preceded in death by a great-grandson: Walker Gorney.
Survivors include a son & daughter-in-law: Jim & Loretta McKinney, Roan Mountain; A daughter & son-in-law: Lala & David Smith, Knoxville; Three Grandchildren: Laura Gorney and husband, Charlie, Chesapeake, Va., Michael McKinney and wife, Raquel, Piney Flats, and Mark McKinney and wife, April, Knoxville; Four Great Granddaughters and two great-grandsons; several nieces, nephews and a host of friends. She is also survived by one very special friend: Gaye Helms, Hartsville, South Carolina.
Funeral Services will be conducted at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Memorial Funeral Chapel with Mr. Johnny Hill and Rev. Randy English, Dr. Jack Cordell will deliver the Eulogy.
Graveside Service and Interment will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 4, 2013, in the Calhoun Cemetery with the Rev. Richard Blevins officiating. Music will be provided by Denise Hill and Aaron Stockton. Active Pallbearers, who are requested to assemble at the funeral home at 8:50 a.m. Thursday, will be: Don Hill, Lynn Ellis, Tim Barnett, Aaron Stockton, John Buck and Terry Denton. Honorary Pallbearers will be: J. Denton and Ted Barnett.
The family would like to express a special “Thank You” to the Staff of Pine Oaks Assisted Living especially, Nikki Roberts and Office of Melissa Leake at JCIM.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, 2013, in the funeral home.
To those who prefer memorials may be made in memory of Mrs. McKinney to The St. Jude Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000 Dept. 142, Memphis, Tn. 38101-9908.
Friends may also visit with the family at the residence of her son: Jim & Loretta McKinney, Roan Mountain. Family and friends will assemble at the funeral home at 8:50 a.m. Thursday to go to the cemetery.
Condolences may be emailed to
Memorial Funeral Chapel is in charge.