In Memory of:

Paul C. McKinney

Toledo, Ohioman witnessed Pearl Harbor attack

Paul C. McKinney, 84, who joined the Navy at 16 to help his widowed mother, witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and learned his trade as a heating and cooling contractor in the service, died Tuesday in Lake Park nursing care facility.

Family members did not know the cause of death. He fell and broke his hip in his West Toledo home about five weeks ago. He had diabetes and congestive heart and kidney failure.

Mr. McKinney retired in 1989. Much of his career was at Shelton Heating & Air, where he was a part-owner and chief estimator, his daughter Pam Michalski said. He also worked for his son, Chris, at McKinney Heating and for Pugh Heating.

From 1955 to 1965, he taught night classes in Toledo Public Schools.

His trade "gave us kids a good living," his daughter said. The path began in the Navy, which he joined after leaving Woodward High School at 16 to provide income for his mother and sister.

"He was an electrician and a boilermaker aboard ship," his daughter said. "That was the trade they taught him."

He was aboard the USS Pyro and walking from the mess hall Dec. 7, 1941, when he first saw planes. "They had red dots on the sides," he told The Blade in 2001. "We didn't know what they were at first. Of course, turns out they were Japanese."

At the Dec. 7 commemoration in 2000 held by the Toledo chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Mr. McKinney said: "I saw the Arizona blow up. I saw the Oklahoma turn over, and the Utah turn over."

He was stationed stateside for the duration of World War II.

Mr. McKinney was a member of VFW Post 606 and the American Legion Argonne Post. "He didn't have a lot to say, but he was very intelligent and had a great sense of humor," his daughter said.

Mr. McKinney and his wife, Doris, married Jan. 8, 1943. She died in 1997.

Surviving are his daughters, Helena "Tootie" McKinney and Pam Michalski; son, Chris; 11 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

The family requests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio or to Compass.

Copyright 2001,2002,2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,02013,2014,2015,2016 USS Pyro Association
Revised: 03/07/2016