Jeter McKinley

Jeter Conrad McKinley

Monday, June 27th, 1932 - Tuesday, May 18th, 2021
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Jeter Conrad McKinley, 88, of Kannapolis, NC passed away at home on May 18, 2021.

Jeter was born in Glass, NC, now Midway, a section of Kannapolis on June 27, 1932 to the late John R. McKinley, Jr., and the late Eunice Tarlton McKinley.

He is survived by his wife of almost 39 years, Marilyn Lawhorn McKinley; sons John, of Blacksburg, SC; James, of Charlottesville, VA; Joseph, of Kannapolis; daughter Jennifer Jarrell and his only grandchild, Erin Jarrell, of Stanley, NC; and stepson Shannon DeArmon of Asheville. He loved them all.

Raised on the family farm just west of Kannapolis, Jeter spent his childhood and youth horseback riding, raising dogs with his father, fishing, and hunting with family and friends. As a teenager, he played high school basketball and was the starting catcher for two years on the Kannapolis American Legion baseball team.

Following his graduation from Odell High School in 1950, he enlisted in the US Navy and became a Navy Seabee during the Korean War. Once his enlistment was up, he joined the Merchant Marines where he served as a Deck Watchman aboard the SS EG Grace on the Great Lakes.

After leaving the Merchant Marines, he went to work as a draftsman with Douglas Aircraft in Charlotte. From the 60s through the 90s he worked in engineering and management positions with Westinghouse at their Nuclear Fuel Rods facility in Columbia, SC before retiring from their Nuclear Turbine factory in Charlotte, NC in 1992 at the age of 59.

An insatiable reader, Jeter earned his undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina and in retirement earned two degrees from UNC at Charlotte, a BS in English Education and a Master’s in Literature. He loved all sorts of games and puzzles – cribbage, pinocle, hacky sack, and Rubik’s cube, to name a few – but the game he loved most was bridge.

A lifelong outdoorsman who treasured his fitness, Jeter was a lifelong golfer. Additionally, he was a well-respected instructor of Rock Climbing, Ropes Course, Caving and other outdoor courses for the NC Outward Bound School, CPCC and UNC at Charlotte. In retirement he earned his Private Pilot’s license and spent many hours in rental aircraft flying around the Carolinas and Virginia. He also parachuted and bungee jumped occasionally.

However, his passion was athletic officiating. For over 40 years he officiated high school and college football, basketball, baseball, soccer and softball. In addition to officiating, he served as mentor and evaluator for younger officials. In 2017, the Carolina’s Umpire Association created the Jeter McKinley Lifetime Achievement Award which is now given annually to the umpire who “…best exemplifies leadership, passion, integrity and dedicated service – on and off the field.” Additionally, the NC High School Athletic Association awarded him the Golden Whistle Award in 2014.

Finally, the family wishes to express their gratitude to John Aloi who served as caretaker, friend and foil to Jeter during his last year as well as confidante and wise counselor to the family through his passing.

At the request of the decedent there will be no public funeral services.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of Kannapolis, NC, Hospice & Palliative Care of Cabarrus County and any Parkinson’s disease charity of your choice.
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Antonio Pardina

Posted at 04:57pm
He is in a better place now. My love. R. I. P.
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Dickie Chapman

Posted at 01:12pm
I enjoyed working with Jeter and his Tool Designer, Linda at Westinghouse, for quite a few years. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Msy God Bless, Dickie Chapman

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