June 20, 1925 – February 7, 2024
It is with great sadness that the family of Anson McKinley announces his passing on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, in Zurich, in his 99th year. He died peacefully surrounded by his family. Anson was predeceased by his beautiful and loving wife of 72 years, Evelyn (nee Johns).
Anson will be lovingly remembered by his children Larry McKinley and Elizabete David, Karen Ratcliffe, Cathy McKinley and John Hoover, Mary Lou Thomson and the late Robin Thomson and Donna Steck and the late Brian Steck; his grandchildren Warren and Alana McKinley, Kelly (Olivier St Maurice), Megan (Stephen Muir), Emily (John Berger) and David Ratcliffe (Heather Waters), Josh (Magnolia Pauker), Alexandra and Mac (Inna) Hoover, Nikki (James Gunn) and Michael Thomson and Ethan and Steve (Amanda) Steck; and, his great grandchildren Grayson and Neve McKinley-Burns, Colton, Addison and Gabriel St. Maurice, Owen Waters, Douglas Muir, Jackson, Wyatt and Logan Berger, Olin, Tegel, Abigail, Emilia and Michael Hoover, Otis, Finlay and Heather Gunn, and Max, Jude, Jimi and Bodhi Steck. He will be missed by his siblings and in-laws Jean Fanson, Berne and Doris McKinley, Stanley and June Johns, Willard King, and Gordon and Diane Johns. He is predeceased by Eleanor Reibling-King, Lloyd Reibling, Bob and Audrey McKinley, and Ken Fanson. He will be remembered by former sons-in-law Dale Ratcliffe and Doug McKenzie, along with his many nieces and nephews.
Anson married his love, Evelyn, on May 15, 1948, in a church filled with cherry blossoms picked by Evelyn and red and yellow roses from Anson. Their home was always filled with laughter, home cooked meals, family and friends. In later years Evelyn and Anson spent many happy months together in their home in Florida. Here the food, lodging and warm conversation, provided a haven for many cold northerners. Anson took up golf in his sixties and was overjoyed at getting his first set of new clubs for his 70th birthday. He regularly played with family and friends and practiced almost constantly – even hitting balls with his wedge, in the evenings on the farm.
Anson’s biggest regret was having to leave high school to return to work on the farm when WW II broke-out. He was determined to educate himself. He read everything and had subscriptions to both the Economist and Forbes magazines. Evelyn often had to call more than once to penetrate his concentration, as he stole some reading time before a meal.
In the 1970s, when OMAF needed part-time field staff to monitor the results of the Junior Farmer Loan program, Anson jumped at the chance. He wanted to not just monitor but to mentor these young farmers. He cared about their success and helped many to weather high interest rates and low commodity prices.
As Reeve of Stanley Township, Anson led the Council in planning for the future. Despite opposition, he spearheaded the purchase of a farm so the municipality would have a site to safely store equipment, provide for residential landfill requirements and be a center for community activities including meeting facilities, baseball diamond, play area and nature trails. The Varna Complex is today a vibrant and important part of the community. He observed Lake Huron waterfront being sold for development and was concerned that township residents would not have access to the beach. He persuaded Council to purchase property on Pavilion Rd and build a pavilion with bathroom and picnic facilities and a trail to the sand and water. Anson was a past Warden of Huron County.
He was honest and fair in all his business dealings and was proud of his part in the building and success of McKinley Farms and Hatchery.
Anson’s long list of interests included: being a lay minister active in the Zurich, Varna and Brucefield United Churches; being a long-time member and former Grand Master of the Hensall Masonic Lodge and he used the square and compass as measures in his own life; and, being a voracious reader searching for knowledge.
A special thank you to Katie Nixon for her care and devotion to Dad’s quality of life. We are grateful for the contributions to Dad’s enjoyment of life by the wonderful staff at One Care and Blue Water Rest Home.
He was fair, loving and kind to family and friends.
Visitation will be held at Brucefield Community United Church, 10 London Road, BRUCEFIELD on Monday, February 12th from 12:30 – 1:30 PM, where Anson’s funeral service will be held at 2 PM with Pastor Paul Vollick officiating. Spring interment, Bayfield Cemetery.
Donations to Blue Water Rest Home, Brucefield Community United Church or the charity of your choice would be greatly appreciated.