Harold Dean McKinney

Photo of Harold Dean McKinney
Harold Dean McKinney, age 85, of White Hall, Arkansas, passed away Friday, December 26, 2014, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Harold was born May 17, 1929 in Lamesa, Texas to the late Bert Loren and Alva Ada (Weaver) McKinney. He grew up in Lamesa as well as Savannah, Oklahoma, Texarkana, Texas, Fort Wingate, New Mexico, and Flippin, Arkansas; as his family followed his father's employment at various Brown and Root construction sites. Mr. McKinney's first job after high school was a a pump operator during the construction of Bull Shoals Dam in Arkansas. Harold joined the United States Air Force in 1950 and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. On March 22, 1952, Harold married the former Betty Jo Reed of Flippin, Arkansas. After completing service to his country in Washington, DC, and Mineral Wells, Texas, Harold and Betty moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas in September of 1954. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree in 1958. Upon graduation, he began his engineering career with Lone Star Gas Company in Texas. Mr. McKinney registered in Arkansas as a Professional Engineer on July 13, 1963. His Arkansas career experience included positions as Plant Engineer at Baxter Lab in Mountain Home, Arkansas, and successive jobs at Pine Bluff Arsenal as Mechanical Engineer, Assistant Director for Engineering in the Directorate for Biological Operations, Chief Process Engineering Branch, Senior Project Engineering Leader, and as his last position before retiring, Mr. McKinney served as Chief of Plants and Materials Engineering Division. He retired from the Department of Defense with over thirty years combined military and civilian service. Mr. McKinney wrote and presented numerous defense-related technical papers in the US and abroad near the end of his career and held two US patents for filling systems currently used by the US Army to produce phosphorus munitions. His work earned recognition from the American Chemical Society, and was published as a chapter in its 1987 book, Design Considerations for Toxic Chemical and Explosives Facilities, one of an annual collection of peer-reviewed research papers from some of the world's brightest minds in science, including thirty-five Nobel Laureates in chemistry. Mr. McKinney is survived by his four children, all of whom were generously blessed by his presence on earth: Deanna Beasley (Donnie) of White Hall, Arkansas; Barbara Gordon (Bill) of Westerville, Ohio; Susan Spurlin (John) of Dayton, Ohio; and David McKinney of White Hall, Arkansas. He was loved by his grandchildren: Lauren Beasley Mincy (Paul); Gilliam Gordon Ballard (Ben); Matthew Beasley (Allison); Emily Spurlin (Asya Domingo); Meryl Spurlin; Anthony McKinney; and Mary McKinney; and great-grandchildren: Samuel, Israel, Isaac, and Micah Mincy; and Olivia and Emilia Ballard; his sister, Clarene Handy of Bakersfield California. He was preceded in death by his beautiful wife of 51 years, Betty Jo (Reed); his parents: his brothers: Travis and Kenneth McKinney; a sister, Berthene McKinney; and his second wife, Pauline (Peak) Carrier McKinney of Denham Springs, Louisiana. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, January 2, 2015 at Flippin Cemetery in Flippin, Arkansas, with Bro. Steve Martin officiating. Visitation will be 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Friday, January 2, 2015 at Burns Funeral Home in Yellville, Arkansas. Pallbearers will be David McKinney, Donnie Beasley, William Gordon, John Spurlin, Matthew Beasley, and Anthony McKinney. Memorials may be made to Arkansas Hospice Foundation. ( For online condolences go to

Published December 31, 2014