David was born in Telford, near Johnson City, Tennessee. He grew up in the hills of Tennessee, as he liked to say, somewhere near “No Fatty Hollow.” He grew up in the Deep South, on his parents, Earl and Edna’s tobacco farm. Running around the hills with his two brothers, they often played pranks on each other. David’s early life could be compared to “Tom Sawyer’s.” And yes, he walked to school and church, often without shoes!
When David was 10, his father passed away and life became a struggle for his mother. He learned to respect hard work and in later years, remembered how his mother would pump water into their small home and how she worked hard to care for her family. He learned to respect women, watching his mother’s love and in later years would often speak of her sacrifice.
When David was 17, he decided he wanted to see the world and asked his mom to sign a waiver so that he could join the Air Force. His mother Edna reluctantly signed the waiver. In those days, the Army and Air Force were combined and for the next 21 years the military became his second family. As World War II was winding down, David was sent to Germany with the Occupying Forces. He had never been away from home and it was exciting time for him. He enjoyed meeting and helping the people of Germany and when it was time to leave, he vowed to revisit someday.
After the war was over, David was sent to Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. One day David and his military buddies decided to drive to Boise where they stopped at a Walgreens. Alice happened to be working at the soda fountain and they caught each other’s eye. On his second trip to Walgreens, he walked Alice home and soon after became a regular customer. He and his buddies enjoyed their days off driving to Boise and hanging out with Alice and her friends.
In 1950, David was sent from Idaho to California but kept in touch with Alice. He soon found he could not live without her. He called her, asking her to come to Fairfield, CA to marry him and Alice happily agreed. David asked his buddies to pick Alice up in Idaho and she drove with them to California. Little did they know, the knot they tied that day would last over 72 years!
About two years after their marriage, David was sent back to Mt. Home AFB to train teams on the use of a computer program. While stationed in Idaho, their daughter Lourae was born. A few years later, David was shipped to Okinawa to help supply the planes during the Korean War. Alice had to stay behind and after a long year of separation she took a military ship to join him. Alice had never been out of the US and David had to explain how the beautiful island had hurricanes and strange bugs. As a young couple they enjoyed the island life. Several years later, daughter Nola was born.
David made many local friends in Okinawa who were allowed to work on the American base but not everyone welcomed the military. One day at a small get together, David was accosted by a communist sympathizer brandishing a sword. Fortunately several friends jumped in and helped to disarm the man.
It was with sadness that David and Alice had to say goodbye to their friends in Okinawa because David received orders to ship out to March AFB in California. In the following years, son Donald was born. In a few years, David was sent overseas to Waddington, England where he was asked to work with our British allies. It was a hub for American and British surveillance and intelligence. David would tell the story of how he met one of his lifelong friends in England. He heard a British guard singing and David decided to meet him as he really enjoyed his music. The young guard explained he enjoyed singing and that he played in a local band. Soon, David and Alice made their home a meeting place for their English friends, listening to music and dancing the night away!
David and Alice traveled to Europe and took their new friend, Eric, with them. They had many fun adventures in Europe and enjoyed the history around them. It was a rare gift for the young couple to enjoy time away from the three kids. Lourae and Nola were sent to boarding school and little brother Don was cared for by a wonderful local family who became lifelong friends. The highlight of their time in England was getting to meet and shake hands with Queen Elizabeth at a Christmas party for the military.
As time passed, David and the family were stationed in hot and humid Roswell, New Mexico. Don had a great time catching and teasing his sisters with centipedes, scorpions, and black widow spiders. David enjoyed teaching Don to throw a line out to catch fish and Don soon was practicing in the backyard. One day when David was still at work, Don threw out a line and caught a big fish. David came home to find Don had unknowingly caught Nola in the throat. A quick trip to the base doctor and all was well.
After several years, David was sent to Glasgow, Montana near the cold Canadian border. It was there that the family was introduced to the beautiful mountains and wildlife of the Northwest. Unfortunately, the war in Vietnam was raging and David was sent to do his part. He knew he would be gone for over a year and decided to move the family back to Boise where Alice and the kids would be closer to family. After the war in Vietnam, David retired from the Air Force and eventually joined the Bureau of Land Management, supporting fire fighters in the Northwestern states with needed equipment.
In the following years David and Alice made a commitment to follow Christ and they joyfully spread the gospel to others. He joined the Full Gospel Businessmen and became a spiritual advisor to the Christian Women’s Aglow Fellowship. David and Alice’s heart was for young people who had become addicted to drugs and life on the street. They worked with Teen Challenge Ministry offering hop and support to kids who were looking for a better life. They traveled to other states meeting with many different ministries and speaking to churches about the saving grace of God. They opened their home to many needy families and individuals seeking a change in their lives and hearts.
In recent years, David struggled with dementia but he always kept his many Bibles close to him, spending his afternoons reading scriptures and singing praises to God. As Alice says, David has been reassigned and given new orders, but his example of God’s love will not be forgotten.
We love and miss you David, but we will see you on the other side!
David is survived by his loving wife of 72 years, Alice May (nee Smith) McKee; children, Lourae Young, Nola McCafferty, and Don McKee; grandchildren, Jeremy Young, Jessica Detwiler, Promise Rose Horton, Benjamin McCafferty, April Grace McCafferty, Oh (Katie) Prema, Lara McKee, Nathan McKee, and Matthew McKee; 12 great grandchildren; and all those he made feel like family. He is preceded in death by his parents, Earl and Edna (ne Deakins) McKee; siblings, George McKee, JT McKee, and Jessie Miller; as well as his beloved grandson, Matthew McKee.