Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Uncle Bill

aMAYFIELD — William Curtis “Bill” McGary of Hopewell Road, Mayfield, Ky., passed on peacefully at his home from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) Sunday morning, March 6, 2011, at the age of 83.

Bill was a farmer, devoted father and husband, and passionate local historian and storyteller.

William was born near Kirbyton in Carlisle County, Kentucky, on November 15, 1927. He was the eleventh and youngest child of Victor and Effie Dura Gourley McGary.

He farmed in West Kentucky across seven decades beginning as a young child on the family farm.

He began his education at the one-room Dewey Corner School. In 1941, Bill attended Cunningham High School and enthusiastically played on the school’s basketball team.

After high school Bill farmed for several years with his father, still working only with horses. In December of 1950, he volunteered for the United States Air Force. He studied at Boston University Aircraft School and served as a B-36 Electrical Specialist for the Eleventh Wing at Carswell Air Force Base, Fort Worth, Texas.

While in Texas he met his future wife, Betty Jo Evans. They were engaged at Palo Duro Canyon State Park and were married August 2, 1953, in Halfway, Texas.

After his time in the service, they moved to Petersburg, Tx., where he farmed cotton, maize, and other row crops for several years with Betty’s father and brother.

In 1965, they bought a farm in the Mayfield Creek Bottom off of Hopewell Road, where for the next four decades they added acreage and grew white corn, yellow corn, popcorn, soybeans, wheat, and canola. In later years, Mike Nesler was instrumental in running the farm as well as a small long-haul trucking operation.

Betty kept the books and managed operational details and Bill’s brother-in-law, Henry Wells provided assistance in various capacities.

Bill often enjoyed breakfast with local farmers and neighbors at the Longhorn Restaurant near Mayfield. He could always be counted on to spark up conversations with complete strangers, often to have a new audience for his stories, but just as often to make a personal connection with a fellow traveler. In 2009, he completed his memoirs of growing up in the Jackson Purchase Area entitled “William-Billy-Bill,” published by

Bill is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Betty; as was a son, Kenneth “Ken” of San Francisco, Calif.; daughters, Thana of Rutland, Vt., and Lawinna of Greene, New York. Lawinna and her husband, Joe Ingold, have three children, Evan, Loren and Liam. Bill is also survived by his sister, Adell McGary Hurt of Toledo, Ohio.

Bill’s siblings were Ava Boswell, Zela McGary, Vernice Wells, Theron, James Thomas (J.T.), Wilbur, Alda Brower, Adell Hurt, Learon, and Wilford.

Bill was a member of Open Door Baptist Church.

Visitation will be Friday evening, March 11, from 5-8 p.m. The funeral service at Byrn Funeral Home in Mayfield starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 12. Burial will be at Highland Park Cemetery.

In memoriam, contributions can be made to Emmeaus Perpetual Cemetery Fund, c/o David Wells, 12272 State Route 129, Fulton, KY 42041, or to the American Red Cross, 1-800-733-2767.

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