Norma Carolyn Neal McKee

Published 4:30 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

Norma Carolyn Neal McKee, age 80, passed from this earth on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. at her home in rural Starkville of a massive heart attack.

She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Bob McKee; two daughters, Jan McKee Pettus and Penny McKee Downey, her husband David and daughter-in-law Cissy McKee; one sister, Katherine Sink, and two brothers, Jarone Neal and JW Neal; five grandchildren, Derek Pettus, Bradley Downey (Alex), Neal Downey (Holley), Aimee Claire Pettus Holder (Matt) and Jessica Downey; eight great-grandchildren, Abigail Pettus, Mason Downey, Charlotte Holder, Paxton Downey, Rebecca Holder, Charlie Downey, Bowen Downey and Pierce Holder. She was preceded in death by her son, Bobby Wayne McKee Jr.

Norma “Nonie” McKee was born on Oct. 23, 1939, to Dessie Mae and Coleman Columbus Neal in DeKalb. Growing up, her interests included playing basketball and playing the piano for her church. But she excelled at homemaking — she had a natural talent for homemaking skills such as gardening, cooking, quilting and all forms of stitchery. These skills, developed during her formative years, went on to characterize her as the person everyone looked to for guidance. She knew everything. She just did.

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Her family began on June 9, 1957, with her marriage to the love of her life Bob McKee. For nearly 20 years, that family grew in Pascagoula in the light of her love and care. “We” were her world and she was always at the center of ours. Her family attended Becky Bacot United Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday school and led the youth program. She spent countless hours at the Aquatic Club of Pascagoula with the swim team, where she became a certified lifeguard.

In the late 70s, she and Bob relocated their family to Vicksburg. The family grew, with her always at its center. She worked tirelessly helping with her grandchildren and her daughters at Riverbend Galleries and Children’s House Montessori School, where she, again, made many lasting relationships. Since moving to the Starkville area in 2009, she was involved in activities at Artesia Baptist Church, Annunciation Catholic School and Emerson Family Center.

Nonie made friends wherever she went and was loved by everyone. She will be missed.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.