McKinley Waddell Obituary
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In Memory of

McKinley "Mac" Waddell

February 19, 1955 - November 1, 2013
Obituary
Biography

“Anything is possible. He was an artistic and creative man, a perpetual inventor, who seemed to be able to find a solution for any difficulty confronting him. He had faith in his ability to find those solutions. McKinley thoroughly enjoyed understanding how things worked. He possessed an inquisitive, confident, and rational nature matched with a versatile and agile mind. McKinley was a person who believed that he could achieve whatever he set out to do.        His parents were Samuel and Gertrude Waddell, although born in Brownsville, Tennessee, he was raised in Decatur, Illinois by his Uncle James and Aunt Edna Powell after the loss of his mother. He showed his ingenuity even as a child. When he was confronted with a problem, McKinley could develop an imaginative solution, and he derived satisfaction from knowing he had that ability.       As a young boy, McKinley could be found building and inventing new and different things. He was curious, resourceful and interested in anything original. In his spare time he liked to draw and play the bass guitar. McKinley's memorable achievements included winning several art contests and being in a band.       Endowed with an appetite for knowing how his world worked, McKinley enjoyed school, especially when the learning experience involved dissecting and probing the unknown. McKinley was adept at scrutinizing different...
“Anything is possible. He was an artistic and creative man, a perpetual inventor, who seemed to be able to find a solution for any difficulty confronting him. He had faith in his ability to find those solutions. McKinley thoroughly enjoyed understanding how things worked. He possessed an inquisitive, confident, and rational nature matched with a versatile and agile mind. McKinley was a person who believed that he could achieve whatever he set out to do.

       His parents were Samuel and Gertrude Waddell, although born in Brownsville, Tennessee, he was raised in Decatur, Illinois by his Uncle James and Aunt Edna Powell after the loss of his mother. He showed his ingenuity even as a child. When he was confronted with a problem, McKinley could develop an imaginative solution, and he derived satisfaction from knowing he had that ability.

      As a young boy, McKinley could be found building and inventing new and different things. He was curious, resourceful and interested in anything original. In his spare time he liked to draw and play the bass guitar. McKinley's memorable achievements included winning several art contests and being in a band.

      Endowed with an appetite for knowing how his world worked, McKinley enjoyed school, especially when the learning experience involved dissecting and probing the unknown. McKinley was adept at scrutinizing different possibilities and designing innovative solutions. He graduated from Eisenhower High School in 1973. His favorite class in high school was art. He won first place in several art contests.

      Because he was a quick thinker and adept at picking up on new things, McKinley performed well in college. He was always on a quest for knowledge and he relished the experience. Theories intrigued him, and he was good at solving complex problems. He always wanted to understand rather than judge. He earned his Associate of Applied Sciences in Graphic Technology and Computer Graphics. His favorite courses were graphic art classes.

      McKinley was socially resourceful, an expressive person who was willing to try new things. These qualities drew a lively circle of friends around him. Always interested in his friends’ activities and interests, McKinley was uncritical of his acquaintances. He was sought after by people who recognized that he was generous with his time and energy, and these same friends found McKinley to be very stimulating company. McKinley's humor was contagious for those around him. Later in life, he became friends with Grover Rollins, Thomas Graham, Edgar Bones, James Bracy, and Jim Otero.

       McKinley was adept at devising original and creative ways to enhance and improve the marriage partnership. McKinley was seldom a critical person, but rather the one who was able to bring out the best in others. McKinley was an entertaining conversationalist who was quick to respond to his spouse’s needs. He thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Janet, in fact those who knew him remarked that he loved his wife and family.

      McKinley's remarkable talent for being inventive influenced his relationship with his daughter. He would create original, clever and fun games for her and had a knack for finding ways to make everyday events, even chores, enjoyable. McKinley was blessed with one daughter, Tiffany. They were also blessed with one granddaughter, Jade. Someone who was quick to laugh, McKinley found it easy to spend lots of time with his daughter and granddaughter, but he was never overbearing or guilty of pushing himself on them.

      As a born inventor, McKinley was definitely in his element in his work place. He could easily create new and innovative systems, and incorporate those changes to bring a fresh approach to any work situation. McKinley was a focused soldier with a strong drive for achievement. He could assess all of the options before him and, using his analytical skills, could comfortably find answers that no one else had even considered. His personal initiative inspired those around him. McKinley was always good at getting a project started and delegating responsibilities to his squadron. He worked for the United States Air Force for 21 years where he achieved the rank of Master Sergeant. McKinley always made an effort to be a team player, doing what was necessary in order to get the job done.

      McKinley's “never say quit” attitude and his ability to face any challenge no matter how difficult it might be were tremendous assets that McKinley carried with him throughout his military career. McKinley was an Air Force Veteran. He was in the ATOC and APS Squadrons and served both stateside and overseas. McKinley also saw action in Desert Storm.

      McKinley's passion for finding a better way to do things was often an end in itself for him. In fact, that interest by itself became something of a hobby for this perpetual problem solver. Since McKinley was always searching for new and unusual activities, he developed many interests and leisure pursuits. Some of the things he became an “expert” in might come as a surprise to those who knew him, but most friends and family understood that McKinley simply couldn’t be limited to just a few activities or ideas. His favorite pursuits were art, music, and computers.

      McKinley's calm demeanor and eternally positive outlook served him well in sports. In high school, McKinley ran track. Recreational sports included Racquetball. McKinley was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed following his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. Top on his list was boxing.

      McKinley's talents were well suited for being actively involved in professional and community organizations, something he did throughout his life. He enjoyed being involved and was willing to jump in and help out in most any situation. McKinley could bring a breath of fresh air to any organization, simply by introducing his novel ideas and problem solving strategies. During his final years of military service in Europe, McKinley was a member of the Masons.

      Having the opportunity to visit and explore a new place always intrigued McKinley. Traveling and going away on vacations offered yet another opportunity for McKinley to expand his ever-growing inventory of knowledge. One of his favorite vacations was Paris, France for his wedding anniversary.

      McKinley was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. Two of McKinley's favorites were Fred and Ginger, his Parakeets. They were best friends for 10 years. His family was rounded out by their cat, Missy Elliott.

      Even while in retirement, McKinley never stopped exercising his inventive talents, and this new phase of his life provided new opportunities for stimulating his interests. In 1994, his new life involved relocating to North Las Vegas, Nevada. In retirement, he found new pleasure in being a grandfather and graphic artist. Even in retirement, McKinley continued to stay in touch with his old friends and while making plenty of new acquaintances. He was active in the community and felt fulfilled.

       He fought a brave battle against Kidney Cancer. He is survived by his wife, Janet; his daughter, Tiffany; his granddaughter, Jade; his brothers, Martin, Rex, Samuel, William, and sister, Laura. Services were held at Palm Northwest Mortuary. McKinley was laid to rest in Palm Northwest Memorial Park in Las Vegas, Nevada.

      During his lifetime, nothing appeared impossible to McKinley. He met the words “it can’t be done” with the enthusiastic challenge of a “wanna bet” attitude. McKinley was able to recognize the possibilities a new idea held, even when those around him could not. For McKinley, the traditional way of doing things fell short of his expectations, especially if there were original and untested methods for handling a challenge.

"Well Mac, We honor you with this final salute. During my many road trips I would frequently call you and talking and laughing with you over the phone would..." Rex Waddell (Fairview Heights, IL)

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Las Vegas Review-Journal
MCKINLEY WADDELL U.S. Air Force, Retired McKinley "Mac" Waddell, 58, of North Las Vegas, passed away Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, due to kidney cancer....

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