Maude O’Neal McKinley went home to be with the Lord on April 24, 2020, at the age of 90 surrounded by her loving family.
She was born on November 20, 1929, in Biloxi, Mississippi to the late John Robert Brown and Elmear Bradford Brown. She attended First Missionary Baptist Church in Biloxi and was baptized at age 10 by the late Pastor Phillips. At age 12 she was blessed with the addition of a stepfather, Washington Hatcher who became an instrumental influence in her life.
Maude graduated from Biloxi Colored High School and attended Jackson College (now Jackson State University). After attending college, she returned to Biloxi and met her husband Reverend Ralph Thurston O’Neal, who was then the pastor of St. John AME Church in Biloxi. That union was blessed with three sons, Sherman L. O’Neal, William A. O’Neal, and Dwight E. O’Neal. After the death of Reverend O’Neal, Maude returned to Biloxi to raise her boys with the support of her committed family.
Maude became an active member of St. John AME Church, while remaining an avid supporter of First Missionary Baptist Church where her children attended with their grandmother.
Maude went on to marry James McKinley, Sr. (Mack), and from that blessed union had three more children, James W. McKinley Jr., Frank C. McKinley, and Ida D. McKinley. She rejoined First Missionary Baptist Church to be by the side of her husband and has been a member there ever since. The couple remained in Biloxi so they could live close to Maude’s mother (known fondly as Mrs. Hatcher, Nanny, Nan Nan) and together they raised their 6 children. After many years of marriage, Maude lost her husband Mack to death, and through great strength and perseverance resumed the role of head of her family.
She taught in Harrison County’s Head Start Program, was a Girl Scout troop leader, and previously held memberships in the Modern Federated Women’s Club and Biloxi High School Booster Club.
Maude’s life philosophy was to put family first, and her life’s testimony was a shining example of exactly that. She believed that if you give your kids the spiritual tools and a disciplined upbringing, they will be successful. She felt that her personal and professional sacrifices made her family strong and created a legacy of excellence and success that gave her great pride.
Her hobbies included cooking, baking, entertaining, shopping, taking care of others, and traveling to visit her loving family.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband’s Rev. Ralph T. O’Neal and James W. McKinley Sr., her son Sherman L. O’Neal, and her godson Frederick D. Burns III.
Her beautiful life will forever be cherished by her devoted family; sons William (Annette) O’Neal of Arlington TX, Dwight (Darla) O’Neal of Fort Worth TX, James (Chelsea) McKinley Jr. of Grand Prairie TX, Frank (Kimberly) McKinley of Mansfield TX, and daughter Ida McKinley Almgren (Martin) of Grand Prairie TX; her grandchildren Davin (Anita), April (Kenneth), Alexandria, Ralph, Erica (Markeith), Erin, Lillian, Heaven, Promise, Fabian, Brooklyn, Baylee, Regina (Jake), and Angelique; her great-grandchildren Davin Jr., Ava Marie, Dallas, Kenneth III, Kaden, Jaden, Tinley, Markeith Jr., Ava Joy, Jasper, Taliyah, Fabian Jr., Alayah, and Skylar; her God-daughter Michelle (Anton) McBride; her God-sister Angela Scott; her dear friend Dessie Oselen; and a host of cousins, loved ones, and friends.
Arrangements are pending.
Infinity Funeral Home Is honored to support the family of Mrs. Maude O'Neal McKinley as they celebrate her life and legacy.