James Weston McKinney, Jr. passed away peacefully on February 5th, 2024. Jim was born in Amory, Mississippi on November 2, 1930 to Marie and James Weston McKinney. His father died unexpectedly when Jim was 13 years old and his younger sister, Ann, and brother, William, were two years old and one year old, respectively. The responsibility of assisting his mother in caring for his younger siblings helped inform every aspect of Jim’s life: his devotion to family, his resourcefulness in facing challenges, and his business acumen.
Jim was a 4-letter athlete for the Amory High School Panthers, including playing football on the conference championship teams in 1946 and 1947. He later enrolled in the ROTC program at Mississippi State College (now University) where he majored in accounting and received his Bachelor of Science degree. Following graduation he served in the United States Air Force, attaining the rank of First Lieutenant.
Jim was stationed at Lake Charles Air Force Base in Lake Charles, Louisiana when he met the love of his life, Ruth Kathryn Browne. They were married 59 years until her death in 2013. After Jim was Honorably Discharged from the Air Force, he began his career with Burroughs Corporation selling accounting machines. He received their Distinguished Salesman Award for his area in 1963, and this work led him to Texarkana and his next business opportunity.
In 1965 he took a position with First Federal Savings and Loan of Texarkana which in 1995 became Texarkana First Financial Corporation, whose shares were listed on the American Stock Exchange. Jim retired in 2000 after having served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer where he oversaw both the initial public offering of Texarkana First Financial and its acquisition by BancorpSouth Bank (now Cadence Bank). Besides his faith and his family, Jim’s greatest joy was in working at First Federal where he could help other people achieve their dreams of buying a home.
Jim’s commitment to Texarkana ran deep, and he showed this commitment by serving on numerous boards of directors and finance committees for Texarkana organizations, including the Texarkana Housing Development Corporation where he chaired the committee that oversaw the bond issuance for the expansion of Wadley Hospital; Texarkana Firemen’s Relief and Retirement Fund; Texarkana Chamber of Commerce; Texarkana Community Chest and its successor, the United Way of Texarkana; Temple Memorial Treatment Center; Four States Fair Association; Caddo Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; and First United Methodist Church Texarkana, Arkansas. He was a State board member of the Arkansas Savings and Loan League and a trustee of the Financial Information Trust of Des Moines, Iowa as well as a member of the Texarkana Wilbur Smith Rotary Club and Texarkana Country Club, among other activities.
Jim was an avid duck hunter, golfer and fisherman. He began duck hunting as a boy in Mississippi as a way to help feed his family, and his passion for it continued well beyond his last hunt at the age of 81. He also enjoyed training his Labrador Retrievers and often enlisted the help of his daughters in doing so, much to their delight.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Marie Boozer and James Weston McKinney; his wife, Ruth Browne McKinney; and his siblings, Ann Marie McKinney Walker and William Boozer McKinney. He is survived by his daughters, Kathryn Ann McKinney of Texarkana, TX; Nancy Claire McKinney of Rockwall, TX; and Mary McKinney McDonald and her husband, David, of Austin, TX; his granddaughters, Kathryn Anne McDonald of New York, NY, and Caroline McKinney McDonald of Austin, TX; and his brother-in-law, Dr. Gerald Walker of Starkville, MS, along with several nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank all of the medical personnel at Collom & Carney Clinic who have given him such excellent care,
especially Dr. Malcolm Smith, the staff at Cornerstone Methodist Retirement Community, and his caregiver, Sarah James, with Ashley’s Care and House Call.
A visitation will be held 5:00-7:00 on Friday, February 9, 2024, at Texarkana Funeral Home, 3515 Texas Blvd., Texarkana, Texas. Following a private family burial, a memorial service will be held under the direction of Reverend Jaimie Alexander at 2:00 on Saturday, February 10, 2024, at First United Methodist Church, 400 East Sixth St., Texarkana, Arkansas. You may view the service online at https://www.facebook.com/texarkanamethodist
Should you wish to make a donation in Jim’s name, please consider Texarkana Museums System – Ace of Clubs Restoration, 219 North State Line Ave., Texarkana, TX 75501 (www.texarkanamuseumsystems.org); First United Methodist Church Texarkana, Arkansas (https://secure.accessacs.com/access/oglogin.aspx?sn=101558), or a charity of your choice.