Obituary Listings

Thomas John McKay

October 3, 1943 December 1, 2017
Thomas John McKay
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Obituary for Thomas John McKay

McKay, Thomas John age 74 of Knoxville, TN passed away on December 1, 2017 after a battle with cancer.

Tom was born on October 3, 1943 to the late Owen Edward and Hope Postlethwait McKay. He attended the United States Naval Academy from 1961 – 1965. Upon graduation, Tom joined the United States Marine Corp where he was promoted to the rank of Captain by the age of 23. He served his country in the Vietnam war where he was awarded several commendations, including the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Presidential Unit Citation, and Combat Action Ribbon among others.

His life was marked by his service to others to include veterans’ groups, those in recovery, and people within his church. He served as an interpreter in Vietnam and continued to use his language skills to interpret for communities in West Virginia and Tennessee.

He served as a deacon, elder, and sang in the choir and was most active planning and leading services at NHC and Courtyard Assisted Living facility. He was a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oak Ridge.

Tom was a lifelong teacher at various colleges where he taught Leadership and Human Resources. He also helped countless others achieve their educational goals over the years, most recently by helping veterans at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In addition to teaching and training others, Tom worked in sales for the majority of his civilian career. His success in sales came by helping others solve their problems, not by “selling a product or service.”

Tom enjoyed retirement and retired several times but always returned to teaching or helping others achieve their goals.

He leaves behind his devoted and loving wife Erline McKay, four sons Tom (Sheila) McKay, Jim McKay, Jason (Angela) Cunningham and Chris Cunningham. He is also survived by six grandchildren Hope (Nick) Humble, Noah McKay, Jake McKay, Jonah McKay, Andrew Cunningham, and Alexis Cunningham. He leaves behind his siblings, Mary (Tim) Yoho, Frank McKay, Mike McKay, Eileen (Doug) Miller, and Cora (Scott) Bower all of West Virginia.

He was preceded in death by his siblings, Owen McKay, Pat (Paula) McKay, and Florence Zucker .

Tom is also survived by sister-in-law, Angie (Butch) Clendenon of Greeneville, TN.

The service will be held on December 5 at 6 PM at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Oak Ridge. Rev. Steve Sherman will officiate. A military graveside service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding, (STAR), 11800 US11 East, Lenoir City, TN 37772.

An online guest book may be signed at

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




6:00 PM 12/5/2017 6:00:00 PM
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Oak Ridge

100 Gum Hollow Road
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Oak Ridge
100 Gum Hollow Road Oak Ridge 37830 TN
United States

Memorial Contribution

STAR Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding, 11800 US11 E., Lenoir City, TN 37772


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