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J. Lamar McKinney
February 11, 1932 ~ February 9, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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James Lamar McKinney, known affectionately to friends and family as Lamar, passed away peacefully on February 9, 2024, in Augusta, Georgia, just shy of his 92nd birthday. Born on February 11, 1932, in Lincoln County, Georgia, Lamar was the son of the late James L. McKinney and Pauline Linnenkohl McKinney. He grew up in Wilkes County and graduated from Washington Wilkes High School.
After completing his education, Lamar joined his father in the family business, working on the farm and in concrete pipe manufacturing.
His industrious spirit and dedication to hard work were evident early on. In 1959, Lamar embarked on a distinguished career with CSX Railroad, where he began as a brakeman. Over the years, he worked diligently, eventually retiring as a conductor in 1995. Lamar's commitment to his colleagues was demonstrated through his role as the Secretary-Treasurer for the United Transportation Union Local in Augusta for 25 years. His service extended nationally, as he also served as an auditor for the UTU across the United States.
A man of faith, Lamar was a devoted member of Martinez Baptist Church for five decades. His dedication to his church community was reflected in his service on their finance committee, where he contributed his time and talents generously.
Lamar's zest for life extended beyond his professional and religious commitments. He was an avid gardener, known for planting an abundance of vegetables and sharing the fruits of his labor with neighbors and friends. Cooking was another of Lamar's passions. He delighted in culinary pursuits, famously baking 84 rum cakes one Christmas to generously give away to family and friends and earning a reputation for his delicious pecan pies, potato salad, and macaroni and cheese. He may have been the best cook in Columbia County.
Lamar's legacy is carried on by his loving family. He is survived by his wife, Helen Hennis McKinney; his children, Cathy M. Peebles and husband Robert of Augusta, Richard “Rick” McKinney and wife Sally of Evans, Sandra M. Price and husband Keith of Appling, and Andrew Hennis and wife Jane of Hickory, NC, and Harry Hennis and wife Rona of Lexington, SC. His sisters, Evelyn Lewis and husband Esley of Augusta, Vivian Brown of Sunrise, FL, Kathryn Kinney of Baytown, TX, and Cheryl Pittard of Harlem, also survive him. Lamar was a cherished grandfather to Shannon Keller, Adam McKinney, Sarah Beth Alewine, Anna Miller, Trey Price, and Hannah Todd; a doting great-grandfather to 12 great-grandchildren; and a proud great-great-grandfather to two great-great-grandchildren.
Preceding him in death were his parents, his wife of nearly 50 years, Ann Dunaway McKinney, his brother, Wayne McKinney, and his grandson, Jarrett Peebles.
Funeral services to celebrate the life of James Lamar McKinney will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, at 11 a.m. at Martinez Baptist Church. He will be laid to rest at Bellevue Memorial Gardens in Grovetown. Friends and family are invited to gather and share memories during a visitation on Monday evening, February 12, 2024, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Beggs Funeral Home, 200 May Ave., Lincolnton.