Thursday, March 5, 2009
Longtime officer, Purple Heart recipient dies
By SUE WATSON
Elmo McKinney Sr., who is thought to be the first African American hired on the Holly Springs police force, was laid to rest Monday.
He served 22 years at the police department under the late mayor Sam Coopwood and others and under chiefs Harry Bryant and John Shaw, according to his wife Shirley.
McKinney was born in the farming community of Lake Center in Holly Springs, the son of the late Texanna and Thomas McKinney. They had a large farming family. He served two years in Germany in World War II with the U.S. Army before he was wounded, for which he received the Purple Heart.
After returning home from service, McKinney studied building and trades under the GI Bill, but never used his trades degree directly, Shirley McKinney said. Instead, he worked about three years as a security guard at Rust College and drove a taxi for George Clark’s Hotel in Holly Springs before joining the police force where he attained a rank of captain. As far as anyone knows, McKinney is the first black to have served at the Holly Springs Police Department.
He was a Master Mason and member of the Powell Chapel Masonic Lodge #339, she said.
McKinney loved to tell the stories of his war experiences and his stories of working as a police officer, his wife said.
He had several close friends who continued to visit him often at home before his death at age 85. Among those she said he loved to receive as visitors were Joseph Ford, David Caldwell and State Trooper Larry Edwards.
“He was so happy to see them when they visited,” she said.
McKinney was laid to rest at Cottrell Memorial Garden in Holly Springs. For a complete obituary, see Obituaries.
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