Gene Dykes McGinnis was born in St Joseph, Missouri on November 29, 1936 to Milton Singleton McGinnis and Mildred Elizabeth Dykes McGinnis. He has one sister, June McGinnis Burke. He grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri where he met his future wife, Paula Sue Coppage McGinnis, while delivering groceries to her house. They married in 1957. They lived a happy life and raised four daughters together. Paula passed away in 1990.
He graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in geology and went into the Air Force specifically to fly jets. At age 22, he soloed in the T-37 after only 10 hours of instruction beating the prior Air Force record of 30 hours. During his military career he flew the F-106, T-33 and the A-1 Skyraider and was stationed in many locations from Okinawa to Andrews AFB in Maryland. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam, where he earned two Silver Stars for valor in combat and numerous Distinguished Flying Crosses, cementing his reputation as a blunt weapon of a man. He got his master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Oklahoma where he became a Sooners fan for life. While living in Hawaii, working for the Air Force and flying jets, he ran a small business installing burglar alarms and operating TennisServCo with Rick and Carolyn Faust, his lifelong friends. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and settled in Phoenix, AZ.
Gene stayed busy selling RVs and being controller for a small clothing manufacturer, building a house from the ground up in the mountains of Arizona, and traveling across the US in his RV looking for the best fishing spots. He traded his life as a fighter pilot to become captain of his own boat terrorizing fish wherever he cast his bait, from North Carolina to Alaska. His flotilla included the Yellow Boat, several john boats and that big white one Mike gave him.
In 1994 he married Shannon McGinnis and they made Fountain Hills, AZ their home base. From there they roamed the West in their fifth wheel with their good kitty Tinker and later traveled to Europe. A few years ago they moved from their home to an apartment in Fountain View Village where Gene became fondly known as “Gene Gene, The Dancing Machine”.
Gene peacefully passed away on January 12, 2022, at the age of 85, with family at his side.
Even though Gene is gone, his sense of humor, his desire to always do the right thing and deep loyalty to his loved ones will never be forgotten. Unfortunately, no one can fix things the way he could and we already need him to bring his tool box and come over.
He was predeceased by his mother and father, his wife Paula, his daughter Sheri Lynn “Grapey” McGinnis, his beloved dogs Fuzzo and Josie, and kitties Spooky and Tinker.
He is survived by his wife Shannon; his daughters Marcia Deans and husband David, Mindy McGinnis and husband Steve Neuenschwander and Terri McGinnis; his grandchildren Lauren, Paul, Susan, Anne, Thomas, Peter, Reid, Kaeli, Sean, Kate, Lauren and Joanna; one great grandchild, Faye; his stepchildren Tara Doyle and husband Joe, and Brian Durkin; his sister June Burke; two nephews Mike Burke and Mark Burke; and kitty Cassie.