Donald Herman "Chuck" McKinney, 72, of Belle Plaine, Iowa went to be with his Lord in the early morning of Saturday, February 18, 2017 at his home.
Don was born December 31, 1944 in rural Dinsdale, Iowa to Robert and Cecelia (Koster) McKinney. Robert was a farmer and feed delivery man, while Cecelia was the proprietor of a local diner, the Cozy Cafe. "Donnie" as he was known, spent his childhood helping at the diner along with his older siblings, Lenora "Faye" and Richard. He participated in track and wrestling before graduating from Traer High School in 1963.
Chuck attended the University of Northern Iowa (for the first time) where he competed as a sprinter and pole vaulter for the collegiate team. Some of the records he set on the track and field team during his undergraduate tenure have yet to broken. Donald earned his Bachelor's Degree in Art from UNI and went on to his first professional assignment teaching art at Montour Grade School and coaching track and wrestling at Tama High School. After several years, Don returned to UNI as an associate professor with the physical education department. During this time, Don completed his second Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education. In the mid 1980's, Donald returned once more to his alma mater to earn his postsecondary Master's Degree in Health.
After his second Bachelor's degree, Donald was hired at Belle Plaine Community Schools as an art, health, and physical education teacher and athletic director. During his long tenure with BPCS, Chuck became a beloved educator and coach. In his career, he coached wrestling, cross country, swimming, cheerleading, rodeo, and boys and girls track. For many summers, Don could be found running the concession stand at the Belle Plaine Pool. He also established All Year-Round Fun Spas and spent many summers selling hot tubs at the Iowa State Fair with his children and then his wife.
Donald served terms on the Belle Plaine City Council and School Board, and also ran the Belle Plaine Food Pantry. He was celebrated in his career with awards including 1998 Iowa Girls' Track Coach of the Year and a scholarship endowed in his named. Chuck officially retired from teaching in January of 2001.
Don married Pamela (Earley) McKinney, in 1967 and was blessed in fatherhood with Bret (Becky) and Kris (Ty). One of Chuck's most cherished memories was watching his son win the wrestling state title and placing the championship medal around his neck. Donald later married Barbara (Towle) McKinney and became a father to her three sons Bradley (Amy), Blake, and Bruce. He was an honorary father to Jen (Jamie) and Shawnee. He was the proud grandfather of Joshua, Brandon, Jennifer, Alexis, Brenda, Taylor, Sydney, Dakota, C.J., and Trinity. Bret, Becky, and Josh have all honored his legacy by attending the University of Northern Iowa.
Don and Barb designed and built their dream home just north of Belle Plaine after his retirement in 2001. Chuck loved making improvements to the home, preparing meat in his personal locker, and welcoming people to his home for visits.
Donald is survived by his beloved wife, children, grandchildren, sister, nieces, nephews, and many friends and former students.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Richard, and granddaughter, Taylor.
Don's relationship with Jesus Christ was the most important aspect of his life. He gave so much to his community and everyone he met because of his love for the Lord.
Visitation will be 2-6 p.m. Saturday, February 25, 2017 at Hrabak-Neuhaus Funeral Service, followed by Don's wishes for cremation. Memorials may be made to the family. Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.harbakfuneralhome.com *