Dr. Richard “Miles” McKee, longtime Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry (ASI) professor, died Aug. 30 in Manhattan, Kan. His funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 24 at University Christian Church in Manhattan.
McKee was born Oct. 8, 1929, to Nell (Miles) McKee and Thomas F. McKee in Cottonwood Falls. He grew up on a ranch in Chase County.
He married his piano duet partner and high school sweetheart, Marjorie, on June 22, 1952, in Cottonwood Falls. They raised one daughter, Annell; and three sons, Dave, Richard and John.
He attended Kansas State University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture in 1951. He then enlisted in the U.S Marine Corps and served in the Korean War as a first lieutenant. Upon completion of his service, he worked as a beef herdsman on ranches in Kansas, Missouri and Michigan, including Titus and Stout Hereford Ranch, Moxly Hall Hereford Ranch, Luckhardt Farms and L&J Crusoe Ranch.
McKee returned to K-State to earn his Master of Science degree in animal husbandry in 1963. While he attended K-State, he was a member of a national champion livestock judging team. In 1959 he was appointed assistant instructor and beef cattle herdsman at K-State. He took a 15-month sabbatical to earn his doctorate in animal science from the University of Kentucky in 1968. Except for that 15-month period, McKee remained on the faculty at K-State until his retirement Jan. 1, 2005, leaving a lasting impact on thousands of students.
Through the years, he received numerous teaching and advising awards. His greatest legacy is as an academic adviser — guiding, mentoring, and caring for generations of students. Miles felt each student who walked in his office door was special and unique.
He served as adviser for the Block & Bridle Club, Alpha Zeta, Ag Student Council, Little American Royal and FarmHouse Fraternity. In addition, he developed a reputation as a top beef cattle judge, having judged numerous livestock shows at the local, county and national levels; and conducted livestock judging and showmanship schools. For years, McKee served as a burger and brats griller at the K-State Animal Sciences and Industry tailgate tent on football Saturdays, greeting current and former students.
The Miles McKee Student Enrichment Fund at K-State was established to honor his teaching and advising contribution to youth. In April 2005, the large lecture hall in Weber Hall was renamed McKee Auditorium. In 2015, Miles received the inaugural Don L. Good Impact Award from K-State’s Livestock and Meat Industry Council.
McKee was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, where he sang in the choir and volunteered part time as a host and receptionist in retirement.
Donations in memory of McKee can be made to the Miles McKee Student Enrichment Fund at the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, 1424 Claflin Road, 232 Weber Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506-8028. For more information, contact 785-532-6533 or email@example.com. To donate online, visit ksufoundation.org/give/mckee.
For a complete obituary, funeral information or to leave an online condolence for the family, visit the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home website.