I received the very sad news that my Uncle John passed away this day. His son, my cousin Mike, telephoned me to let me know of his passing.
Uncle John was very special to me - he was my role model, my inspiration and example. I loved and love him and I will miss him. When I was a kid in Uniontown, my vacation was the several days in a year when he would come to town to visit with our family. I looked forward to those days like none other. I remember so much of those hours with him - playing card games I'm sure he invented, exploring the areas around our town where historical events occurred, visiting other relatives with him, and so on.
In February, the University of Texas held a memorial service, and the family held a private service. I flew in from Florida, where Karen and I were vacationing, and met up with the family and my sister. Other bad news was that my brother, Merle, was to join us, but he had a stroke and could not attend.
The family all gathered at Mike and Sally McKetta’s house in Austin. I was not prepared to see so many cousins and their spouses, children, grandchildren. What an amazing clan we have. The family gathered at the private memorial service and viewed the memorial stone that was set up for Uncle John, Aunt Pinky (who predeceased him), and their daughter. That evening my cousin Randy McKetta and his wife Terry hosted everyone for dinner at one of my uncle’s favorite restaurants. The following day, the University dedicated a massive auditorium to the memorial service it held. It was by invitation only, and the place was packed and they had many more requests for tickets than could be accomodated. The halls around the auditorium were completely packed with memorabilia of his life. The service had all the expected speakers (University President, Department Chairman, friend and former student, and the author of one of his biographies, his granddaughter. They all spoke of his life and inspiration, and I cried along with everyone else. They showed an excellent film made of his life. All in all, a remarkable memorial service. Aferward, there was the expected food, and so on.
Below: My sister Nina, cousins Charles and Mike, me, and cousin Randy; and Uncle John’s Eulogy book distributed at the University service:
Dr. John J. McKetta lived into his 103rd year. He was inspirational to me and to hundreds, if not thousands, of those whose life he touched. Please refer to the bio by clicking on the cover below: