Mr. James Harold “Hal” McKissick, 87, died on November 26, 2019, at his residence. He was born on March 5, 1932, in Chattanooga, TN, to James McKissick and Phinie Bools.
Hal was a lifelong learner with a quick wit and playful disposition. He was a voracious reader who enjoyed travel and to engage in intellectual discussion. He cared deeply for his family and was endlessly interested in the pursuits of his children and grandchildren – you had to be ready to explain yourself when you were with him.
Hal refused to live according to the expectations of others. After graduating from high school with the most demerits in the school’s history, he disregarded his mother’s wish that he become a bus driver and instead enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. When his superior asked if anyone in his unit could type, he had the foresight to say he could (he couldn’t), and spent the Korean War safely behind a desk in Japan. Based on the stories from his high school years, his family was surprised to learn recently that he received a Good Conduct Medal and honorable discharge when he left the service. Hal subsequently went to college on the GI Bill and, despite majoring in philosophy, had a successful career in banking/leasing. His business success came in spite of his refusal to “play the game” of business entertaining or blur the line of ethical behavior. Hal had a lifelong love of learning and the wisdom to incorporate new ideas, even if it meant changing previously held thoughts and beliefs. He maintained an open mind and grew from his conservative southern upbringing to embrace the changing social mores (though maintaining his fiscal conservatism to the end).
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his former wife, Patricia Ruth McKissick. Surviving are his wife, Xuefeng “Elizabeth” Cheng; three daughters, Dawn McKissick Edgerton (husband Stephen), Fawn “Cissy” Celeste McKissick (husband David), and Kristin Marie McKissick (husband Kevin); one step-daughter, Laura Jin (husband Brian); three grandchildren, Marianna Mabry (husband Caspar), Chloë Edgerton (husband James), Travis Edgerton; and two step grandchildren, Cary Barber (wife Jill), Jesse Barber (husband Jean-Paul); one sister, Jeanne Stanley; and several nieces and nephews. The family will have private family services. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a cancer support organization, or reading a book and critically examining a position you take for granted.
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