A Life Lived: Dolores ‘Floss’ McKinney had a giving heart and joyful spirit

Published 1:37 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2021

BY ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
rozella.hardin@elizabethton.com
There were times when Dolores McKinney didn’t have anything to give, especially when she was growing up, but her hands were born open, and so was her heart. She was one of those people who learned to give not because she had much, but because she knew exactly how it felt to have nothing.
Dolores, who died Nov. 24 at the age of 78, was known to her family and friends as “Floss,” a nickname that stuck. Her daughter, Janet, shared: “My mother grew up poor. She and her family lived in Blackbottom, and she loved living there. It left its mark on her.”
Floss worked most of her adult life — 32 years at Texas Instruments/Siemens. “Once she started working she kept working to make sure I aways had what I needed. My dad (Arvel McKinney) worked hard, too, but he had a soft heart, and often worked and never charged a penny for his work, especially if it was for a family in need. My mom was big on buying school supplies and buying for needy children and families. She couldn’t stand to see a child do without,” said Janet.
She also noted that her mother often sponsored underprivileged kids for summer camp. “I think that was one of her greatest joys,” said Janet.
She told how several people who visited the funeral home shared how her mother had helped them and given to them when they were in need.
In addition to her giving spirit, Floss loved life and Janet described her as “witty” and “mischievous in a good way.”
“She loved life and being with her friends, especially her work friends. They were her family. Mom loved freely. Both, she and my dad were good, loving, and funny. Mom had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh,” said Janet.
Floss was also a very talented person and very crafty. She made beautiful stained glass. “When she retired, she was into ceramics a while, and then got into making stained glass. She didn’t make a lot of it because it was a time consuming thing, but she did make me a window and two or three for herself. She was good at it,” said Janet.
One of Floss’s greatest loves in life was her church, Valley Forge Christian Church. Floss had a deep faith and she seldom missed church. Like her work friends, her church friends were family to her.
She doted on her daughter and her grandson, Ethan. “He could do no wrong. Whatever he did was okay. He has a lot of her in him. Mom’s family meant everything to her,” Janet shared.
Floss wasn’t big on cooking, but she enjoyed eating. Because of her diabetes, she was limited in what and how much she could eat. However, Janet said her mother enjoyed home-cooking as well as going out.
“Mom was in a coma for four days before she died, but on the fifth day she awakened…and her last meal was pancakes and sausage. She died the next day,” Janet shared.
Floss was a long-time resident of Long Hollow. “She loved her home and neighbors. But, just like Blackbottom, most of those neighbors and people are now gone,” said Janet.
Floss was preceded in death by her husband, Arvel, and a son-in-law, Leo Meredith.
“My mother worked hard and loved hard, and she laughed a lot, and she was a giver. When it came to giving to children, she often gave what they needed and a little bit of what they wanted. She set an example for me. Both, she and my dad were givers, but you know, we never did without. We always had what we needed,” said Janet.
It’s true that no one has ever become poor by giving.

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