A Life Lived: Bruce McKinney taught us that sight isn’t necessary to love and laugh

Published 11:23 am Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Bruce Byron McKinney was quite a character. He was blind to his blindness. He could see things that most of us couldn’t. He didn’t have to see to have fun, to achieve, to laugh, to enjoy his family and friends, or to grow in his faith.

Bruce McKinney died March 12 at the age of 65. For more than 45 years he had been blind. Prior to losing his sight, Bruce attended school at Happy Valley High, and worked with the Carter County Rescue Squad. He also had his pilot’s license and enjoyed flying and traveling to far-away destinations.

He and his twin brother, Bryce, also a licensed pilot, had flown to several places. “They were very close,” said their brother, Kennie. Together, the two had traveled to Singapore several times, to Akaska, the Aleutian Islands, Hawaii, Hungary, and Israel. “After he lost his sight, Bruce would fly commercial,” shared Kennie.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Considering he was blind, Bruce had a good life, did a lot of things, and had many friends,” said Kennie, with whom Bruce lived.

A niece shared on the funeral home tribute page: “Bruce was an amazing person and one of a kind. He…was full of happiness and laughter. He was loyal, a man of love, and treasured his family.”

Rachel Tester wrote: “Bruce was such an amazing, kind, loving and generous person. He was always telling jokes and cutting up with those around him. He was always so patient and taught us so many things. I loved to hear all his stories about his wild adventures and escapades as a teenager and young adult…”

Kennie said his brother enjoyed eating Mexican food, especially burritos. He also liked Sloppy Joes and Long John Silver’s fish.

When it came to television…although he couldn’t see, he enjoyed the old shows such as Leave It to Beaver, the Munsters, etc.

“He had a dear friend, Jimmy Oxendine, who would pick him up on Saturdays, and they would ride around together. Another friend, Brandon McKinney, called him almost every day,” shared Kennie.

Bruce had a strong faith. “He had the Bible on cassette tapes, and every day he would play them. He also listened to Charles Stanley almost every day,” Kennie said. When he was younger he had attended Oak Hill Free Will Baptist Church at Hampton.

Bruce was the father of a daughter, Shatonna Mitchell, and in addition to Kennie had four other brothers and four grandchildren.

Bruce was laid to rest in the Oak Hill Free Will Baptist Church Cemetery.

Helen Keller once said: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

Bruce McKinney taught us that you don’t have to be able to see to be kind, loving, and show compassion….not even to laugh. Because Bruce McKinney enjoyed laughing, especially when he was with family and friends.