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Dr. Richard's Story

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Dr. Richard McKay, affectionately known as Bampaw to his 6 grandchildren died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 in Davenport, IA. He was 86 years old.
A Memorial Mass for Dick was held at 11:15 a.m. Friday, March 3, 2017 at the Kahl Home, 6701 Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport. The family greeted friends from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass at the Kahl Home. Burial of his cremains took place after Mass in Oakdale Memorial Gardens. Friends and family were invited to join his wife and children to toast him and his wonderful life from 1-5 p.m. Friday at Baked Beer & Bread Co., 1113 Mound Street, in the Village of East Davenport.
Halligan McCabe DeVries Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Dick was born September 5, 1930 in Knoxville, IA where he grew up with his parents, two older brothers, an aunt who was like a sister to him and numerous nieces and nephews. He graduated from Knoxville High School as a devoted A-student and member of the drama, yearbook, and choir clubs.
He attended the University of Iowa, where he paid his own tuition and supplemented his meal plan by working as a sorority "houseboy." While in Iowa City, he focused on his studies, was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and a Phi Beta Kappa. He also worked on the Hawkeye yearbook staff, made lifelong friends, started his career in medicine, and met fellow Hawkeye, Donna J. McMahon who became his wife in 1961.
After graduation from medical school, Dick's career in ophthalmology took him to the Navy, where he served as a lieutenant and flight surgeon aboard an air craft carrier, here he began his love of travel when seeing ports in Spain and Italy.
Dick and Donna married in Spirit Lake, Iowa with a photo-perfect departure via speed boat on Lake Okoboji in 1961. As an Ophthalmology resident in Iowa City, son Tom was born. Following his residency, Dick practiced medicine in New Hampshire near Lake Winnipesaukee where son Peter and daughter Ann were born. Eventually the call to Iowa was too strong, and the family moved to Waterloo. Here Dick built his private practice on 4th Street where he improved the vision of countless patients including family and friends for nearly 30 years.
Early in his Waterloo career and as new residents to community, the McKay's got involved by volunteering their time. He gave back to his alma mater and his community, while making time to enjoy theatre, music, travel, gardening, and a cottage at Clear Lake. The entire family exchanged homes one summer with a French family, spending 6 weeks in France. Dick's early love of travel was then instilled in the entire family. He also was an early devotee of downhill skiing—which has had an impact on the clan McKay ever since—which all began with a little patient instruction on those family ski trips to Colorado in the 1960's.
Dick was a member of the University of Iowa Alumni Association and the UI Foundation's Presidents Club—where he served as chair in 1982 and 1983. He also served as a lifetime honorary director of the University of Iowa Foundation and was proud to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service in 1989 and be elected president of the Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology by his peers. He served on the Art Acquisition Board of the Waterloo Art and Recreation Center, was a Member of the Northeast Iowa Regional Library Association, and served as chairman of the Waterloo Broadway Theatre Board. During his years of medical practice, he served on multiple staff and leadership positions within the Waterloo hospitals.
Dick is survived by his wife Donna and son Dr. Tom McKay, his wife Erin and their children Will and Lily of Davenport; his son Peter McKay and children Kelsey and Caitlin of Golden, Colorado; and daughter Ann Nicknish and husband Paul and children Stephen and Meg, of Davenport. He is preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth and Vera McKay, and brothers and their spouses Robert and Patricia McKay and Kenneth and Joan McKay.
Dick retired after 30 years as an eye doctor, fully enjoying retirement to read mysteries, travel, and plant his tulip legacy. After retirement Dick and Donna spent winters in Florida, then moved to Davenport in 2001 to be near family.
Online remembrances and condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting Richard McKay's obituary at hmdfuneralhome.com. Memorials may be made to Iowa Public Radio or to the Dick & Donna McKay gift funds established at the University of Iowa Foundation set up to award student scholarships in the areas of liberal arts and medicine. The family would like to extend their appreciation for the great care Dick received at the Kahl Home and with Compassus Hospice Care.
Published on February 27, 2017
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