George Andrew McKenney, Jr., 89, passed peacefully with family by his side on Friday, March 6, 2020 after a brief admittance to Togus Springs in Augusta. He was a loving husband to Beverly (Wellman), father of five children, brother, grandfather, great grandfather and loyal friend to many. His steady, cheerful presence at family and community events will be sorely missed.
Born on April 25, 1930 to George and Doris (Hannan) McKenney, they moved to the farm on North Palermo Road when he was four, and George has lived on and loved that acreage ever since. He went to the local school just up the road and often told stories of walking home through the fields and woods and along the brook. He graduated from Erskine Academy in 1948 and shortly after joined the US Army. He served as a corporal and was stationed in Alaska during the Korean Conflict. George returned to Maine to marry the love of his life, Beverly Wellman on June 9, 1953 and returned to duty on June 30th.
Following his military service, George worked in the shoe industry until its collapse in the mid 1970s. Thereafter George “took to the woods,” the second love of his life. George spent every hour possible “down back” cutting wood, hunting, fishing, and absorbing the secrets of the forest. Perhaps our greatest inheritance was Dad’s love for the natural world. He shared his appreciation of trees and animals and birds with anyone who cared to listen. He was a true sportsman in that he opened access to his land to others including ATVs and snowmobiles --but a word of caution: take care not to get confused by George's maze of trails down back. Neighbors and friends were always welcome to hunt as long as they followed his “No Does” rule. George was welcomed at family and friends’ camps throughout the great state of Maine for moose hunts, ice fishing trips, or just a chance to visit.
George was a hometown boy, but after Beverly’s retirement they traveled to places like Hawaii and Ireland. They took cruises and drove cross country to Alaska. Beverly may have been the motivator, but George went along. He could report the exact mileage per gallon and best places for gas and where to eat, although he’d prefer a picnic and a piece of Beverly’s pie. He was curious and interested in everything--except maybe the latest fashions. And if you ever had a question about the weather, you could always ask George.
He made friends easily and many of these were like family as they visited with George and Beverly at the farm over the years. George was a family man and viewed gatherings as a joy rather than an obligation. He exemplified the true meaning of what it is to be a good neighbor and citizen. George was involved in the leadership of Boy Scout Troop 222 and all four of his boys earned their Eagle. He and Beverly were active members of the Palermo Fish and Game Club, the Palermo Historical Society, and the American Legion Malcolm Glidden Post #163 for which George was recently awarded the Quilt of Valor. Palermo honored George and Beverly by naming them Grand Marshals for the 2012 Palermo Days Parade. A humble soul, George may not have fully realized the importance of his presence, but we certainly did. His legacy lives on through his children and grandchildren as they continue to serve their communities in various capacities. Evidence that an individual truly can make a difference.
George is survived by his wife, Beverly, of 66 years, by his children Dennis and his extended family, Dale and wife Pam, Dwain and wife Diana, Ilene, and Darryl; grandchildren Danielle Reitchel and husband Dicky, Hillary Turner and husband Rob, Megan Childs and husband Steve, Katherine Libby and husband Mike, Jacob and wife Crystal, Nicole and partner Kenny, Tory Winters and husband JJ, Lauren and partner Dan, Ashlie Stubbs and husband Ethan, Chelsie Herrin and husband Jared; and great-grandchildren Riley, Holden, Aiden, Wyatt, Addison, Alex, Olivia, Luke, Rossalyn, Harper, Avery, Mia, Evelyn, Emmett, Oliver, and Clara; his sister, Amy Ingraham, sisters-in-laws, Marion Bryant, Maxine Carle & Virginia Wellman as well as numerous nieces and nephews and cousins. We will keep George alive in our hearts and minds, sustained by our strong family ties and memories of him.
The family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to all the Doctors, nurses, Home Health Care and The VA Togus for the care & compassion they showed George and the family.
Those who knew George will remember his interest in people and willingness to sit and tell tales. In that spirit, please join family and friends at the Palermo Christian Church for a celebration of life on Saturday, March 14th at 2:00, and please bring a story to share.
Those who desire may make donations in George’s memory to the Palermo Christian Church, PO Box 154, Palermo, Maine 04354.