Vernon McKinney

Vernon McKinney

Vernon McKinney, 92, longtime newspaper editor and publisher in East Tennessee, died Sept. 21, 2020, at Holston Rehabilitation and Health Center.

He was born to Mae and Thomas McKinney in Lenoir City in 1928. Newspaper work was in his blood. He worked in various jobs at many different newspapers, starting when he was a junior at Lenoir City High School and while attending Tennessee Wesleyan College and the University of Tennessee, where he graduated with a degree in journalism in 1955. After working at the Clinton Courier News, he purchased a weekly newspaper, The Upper Cumberland Times at Jamestown, in 1959.

He then returned to his native Lenoir City in 1961 as owner of the weekly newspaper, The Lenoir City News, where he first started his newspaper career as a linotype operator. He was active with the Tennessee Press Association throughout his career, serving as president in 1971. After selling the Lenoir City News in 1980, he owned a typesetting business, The Type Case, for many years in Knoxville. Vernon served in the Tennessee National Guard and was called to active duty during the Korean Conflict.

While living in Lenoir City, he was active in civic affairs. He was president of the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club and also served on industrial development boards. He was an avid music lover, especially classical and choral music, and was at his happiest while at the Knoxville Symphony performances. He sang in and directed choirs at Central United Methodist Church, Cokesbury United Methodist Church and Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church.

Vernon was preceded in death by parents, Mae and Thomas McKinney; brother, Grady Eugene "Gene" McKinney; and sister-in-law, Helen McKinney.

He is survived by wife, Peggy Burkhardt McKinney; daughters, Karen McKinney, son-in-law, John Taylor, and Janet Scott; sons, Joel, Justin and Daniel; step-children, Doug Burkhardt and daughter-in-law, Peggy, Jimmy Burkhardt and daughter-in-law, Gayle, and Angie Wells; and eight step-grandchildren.

Vernon was a member of Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church, 8801 Pleasant Hill Road, Knoxville. The family received friends 1-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m.

Arrangements by Bridges Funeral Home, 5430 Rutledge Pike, 865-523-4999.