A genteel man known as Ikie
BY SUE STATON
This past week, I heard many words spoken by many people about Isaac McKinney who passed away recently. Out of all the wonderful descriptions of him, one in particular stood out to me above the rest.
Isaac McKinney was better known to his family and friends as “Ikie.”
You see it was easy, but yet hard to actually describe who Ikie really was. Easy, because one could have simply said that he was a good man. Hard, because one would know that word alone was definitely not enough to do him justice.
I am going to list some of the words I heard this past week about Isaac Frances McKinney, then I will explain why I chose the word ”genteel” as the perfect description of him to me.
The first description was Ikie was soft spoken. One never saw him riled up or lose his temper. I have been around him and his wife Trudy for years, and in all situations this was true about him. When farm equipment blew up in the middle of important jobs to be done, most farmers blew up too. Ikie never did.
His nephew used Proverbs 15:1 to begin his eulogy. It states: “A soft word turneth away wrath.” Ikie always spoke softly. He expounded on Ikie’s sweet nature and that he never knew him to raise his voice.
A good Christian man. This description was how I thought of Ikie also. He and Trudy had donated the 10 acres of their farm to the Allensville Baptist Church to build a new church years ago and where it now stands. I think loving and giving could describe him well too.
Others described Ikie as a good moral man. Ikie was a deacon at Central Baptist Church at the time of his death. I can tell you this, I have been at their house when it was nothing for them to have crowds from both churches in their home to eat. I have often said they have fed a thousand or more in that farmhouse. I do not think that would be an exaggeration.
He was also described as never having anything bad to say about anyone. Wow, that is big. Very few people can have that description said about them at the age of nearly 80 years old like Ikie did.
He was quiet but a good listener. I found that to be true about Ikie. He was always there to listen to his friends. As the minister said, he could always bring the conversation back to being about you and how you and your family were doing.
Even though he never complained, there were times when one could sense he was not well. In conversations that he and my husband had in the last year, he was more worried about Trudy’s health than his own.
He was described as a good family man. Ikie loved his family. His wife Trudy came from a large family and all the Haggard family came often with the in-laws and kids, and were always welcome. I know because we have been nvited to many family gatherings. Ikie and Trudy welcomed everyone to their home and you felt as welcome as if you were in your own home. Everyone loved them.
Others described Ikie as kind. I have often said if it were not for Ikie and Trudy after I divorced from my first husband, I do not know what I would have done. They took me under their wing I felt, though they say they did not do anything. They proved true friendship to me. Eric and I have spent many hours with Trudy and Ikie, and we cherish the memories made with them.
Barbara Reeves told me she always thought of Ikie as a genteel man. I told her out of all the words spoken about Ikie that word described him better than anything.
When I looked up the definition, I found genteel to be even more perfect in describing Ikie. Words such as gentle, polite, refined and respectable was one definition. A man of strict, moral standards, free of vulgarity and rudeness.
Another definition described him as polished, sophisticated and charming like an old fashioned, Southern gentleman but not in an ostentatious, showy way. Ikie had these qualities. He stood out by doing nothing more than just being Ikie. There was never anything about Ikie that was “showy” in any way.
Ikie died on the ground he loved and worked so hard on for nearly all his life. He loved farming and he worked two jobs at times. He worked at Rockwell and farmed at the same time. He never gave up. I have been there during the busy seasons of planting and the housing of tobacco. Ikie always had a sweet smile on his face through it all.
As Eric drove the school bus passed Ikie’s farms, he loved seeing Ikie wave to him with a sweet smile. Eric told me it was going to be so hard to go by there now that he was gone. His memory will always be there.
After the memorial service I told the minister’s wife what a good job her husband had done. I remarked also that it had to have been an easy funeral to preach because of his goodness. She laughed and agreed with me. The only hard part I thought would have been trying to let others know how good he really was. He did a great job at what he had noticed in spending time during the summers with Ikie and Trudy.
I felt the same way when I decided to write about him. I wanted to let the world know that Ikie was someone whose qualities we should try to emulate all the time. Ikie you may be gone but you will always be in Eric and my hearts. Thank you so much for our cherished memories.
Sue Staton is a Clark County native. She is a wife, mother and grandmother.