ForeverMissed

George Edward McKay, Sr. of Santa Clarita, CA died on March 18, 2019 at his home in Santa Clarita. He was 84. He was born on January 9, 1935 in Baltimore, MD. In 1953 he married Agnes Marie Kiker and together they had 5 children, George Jr., Gary, Donna, Phillip, and Leo. George was a beloved, top Manager at Peoples Drug Stores in Washington, DC and Maryland receiving numerous marketing, management, and net profit awards throughout his career. He dedicated himself to excellence in service to his customers and to his staff. After his retirement on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, he became well known within his community as Santa Claus to countless children to whom he would entertain with Christmas songs played on his harmonica, and to whom he gifted new harmonicas that he carried with him everywhere. George had numerous hobbies, including writing songs, shortwave radio, and ventriloquism. He will be greatly missed. George is survived by his wife, his five children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren. The family will honor him with private services.

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, George McKay, Sr . We will remember him forever.



Posted by Jessica McKay on March 24, 2019
I was introduced to Mom and Dad McKay once I became engaged to their son, Leo. I was welcomed with open arms and lots of love. I also was strangely interrogated. "Grandpa" as he prefered to be called by me, had done some reasearch on me. By the end of our first afternoon together he had gotten every bit of truth, family history and a few confession out of me. I left with a full belly, a lingering song in my head and a solid grasp of the family I was marrying into. Richous, strong, truthful, imaginative and extremely faithful. The father of the man I am lovingly married to is going to be sadly missed. His love of the harmonica will live on with the gifts that he had bestowed to our three baby girls.
Love you Grandpa,
Jessie

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Jessica McKay on March 24, 2019
I was introduced to Mom and Dad McKay once I became engaged to their son, Leo. I was welcomed with open arms and lots of love. I also was strangely interrogated. "Grandpa" as he prefered to be called by me, had done some reasearch on me. By the end of our first afternoon together he had gotten every bit of truth, family history and a few confession out of me. I left with a full belly, a lingering song in my head and a solid grasp of the family I was marrying into. Richous, strong, truthful, imaginative and extremely faithful. The father of the man I am lovingly married to is going to be sadly missed. His love of the harmonica will live on with the gifts that he had bestowed to our three baby girls.
Love you Grandpa,
Jessie
his Life

The chapters of his life

As a young boy, George was shuttled between different family members on the eastern seaboard after his parents divorced.  Stricken by polio, he walked with a limp, but that did not stop him from playing baseball, swimming in the brick hole, participating in Golden Gloves boxing, and creating mischief with his older brother Gene and friends.

As a teenager, he matured quickly and began working at a Peoples Drug Store in Washington, DC.   He also learned to shoot pool and became pretty proficient at it.  While working at the drug store, he met his future wife who worked at a nearby store in the same chain.  At the age of 18, they married.

George and Agnes Marie had 5 children together.  While she raised the family, he worked hard at the store, rising to become a well regarded manager in the chain, turning around stores that were failing and helping to make them profitable.   He began playing guitar, enjoyed a regular beer (Black Label), and smoked Camel cigarettes.  While in his 40's, an accident at work caused him to go on permanent disability, a big change for a man who never missed a day of work for being sick and often even worked during his vacations.

During his disability years, he soon adjusted to life on crutches and in a wheel chair or motorized cart.   He let his hair and beard grow out, and took a fancy to looking like Santa Claus.  Invariably when he would go out in public, children would approach him and ask if he was Santa Claus.   He would give them a smile and a wink, play Jingle Bells on his harmonica, and then give them a treat, small toy or harmonica with their parents' permission.

Late in 2017, he had a stroke which delivered him to the final chapter of his life.   The prognosis at the hospital was not promising, but he outlived all expectations.   Bedridden after his stroke, he was still able to reach out to the family who loved him to offer final goodbyes and guidance.  Finally, about 16 months after his stroke, during a peaceful night's sleep, he passed, perhaps at the very moment his devoted wife of 66 years reached out to check on him and hold his hand..

He left a legacy of humor, music, strong work ethic and family behind him.

Recent stories

Herring

Shared by G Lee McKay on March 22, 2019

As a young boy, I loved to do things with my dad.  He spent a lot of time at work, so I looked forward to the times he would take me with him on Sundays so I could help clean the store, straighten out the stock, and do miscellaneous little chores in exchange for a chocolate milkshake or soda.  

One weekend, he decided to take off from work to go fishing in Rock Creek.  I was all in, despite the fact that I was sick with a fever and sore throat.   Rustled up out of bed before the sun came until a a very chilly morning, I remember taking the ride there, feeling miserable.

Once we arrived, my father tried fishing but had little luck with with gear.  I stood off to the side, bundled up but cold, and just wanting it to all be over.   Across the rocks, I observed other men fishing and continuously pulling fish up out of the water.  My father watched, too, and decided he had to take a different approach.

We headed back home, where I went to bed.  My father caucused with a neighbor and together they headed back out to Rock Creek with empty laundry baskets in the back of our station wagon.    At the right spot, they dredged the baskets in the water, and pulled out a full basket of fish, which were heaved into the back of the car.  They repeated this until the car was full, and they them headed for home.

For the rest of the day, my Dad and Mom and the neighbors worked furiously to clean the fish, pounds and pounds and pounds of boney herring.  They stuff a good lot of them in a freezer and gave much away to neighbors.

It seemed like a significant part of the next year, we had herring for dinner every night.  Herring for breakfast.  Herring for snacks.  Herring for dessert.  Finally, we could not take it anymore, and took the rest of the frozen fish to the local Catholic convent and gave the bounty to the nuns.

I have not eaten much fish since then

Women Get the Right to Drive

Shared by G Lee McKay on March 22, 2019

Mom was a stay at home mom during our younger years.   She did housework and read stories to us, prepared dinner, and sometimes walked down to the local market,. etc.  In part she was a stay at home mom, because we only had one car.   But it was also because she did not drive.

On November 22, 1963, it all changed when President Kennedy was assassinated.  This was a shock to the nation.   And it was a big shock to my father as well.  His thinking was that if the President of the United States could be shot, everyone was at risk for such a tragedy.   Dad had been robbed at gunpoint in the store where he worked multiple times, and he feared what might happen to our family if one of those drug woozy robbers pulled the trigger on him.

That weekend, my father began teaching my mother to drive.  Later in life, after he became disabled, she became his chauffeur.  He loved his role as front seat driver, and became quite skilled at pointing his finger, directing her where to go.   He was so instrumental in her getting from point A to Be that late in life that after her co-pilot became bedridden, we took away her keys.

Sweetie Pie

Shared by G Lee McKay on March 22, 2019

Station wagons were made for families like ours.  The car allowed 5 kids and an occasional dog to be stuffed inside with two parents in the front.  We were taken here and there to visit grandparents, go shopping or camping or wherever.   There was room for us all to be together and to spread out at the same time.

Quite often, on our return home from one of these outings, the sing song chant among the kids would begin softly and slowly, before rising to an annoying crescendo.  Very annoying. And that was the point.   "Sweetie pie, sweetie pie, sweetie pie!" we exclaimed.  And that only meant one thing: stop at the local Tastee Freeze for ice cream or we will get louder.

It usually worked.