Johnny Franklin McKee, of Calhoun, TN, passed away on July 6, 2018. His family is heartbroken. Johnny was born on July 7, 1970 and was preceded in death by his beloved brother, Ronnie Labron McKee; father, Melvin Junior McKee; maternal grandparents, Cleo and Tommie Green; paternal grandfather, Ray McKee; and special aunt, Lora Lunsford.
In life, fragile individuals often masquerade as strong, natural-born fighters who overcome every obstacle when in reality they face a daily struggle for survival. Johnny was a warrior. Although he did not survive his decades long struggle with mental illness, Johnny fought every day to overcome the demons that lived in his mind because he cared about his family. He was so much more than his illness allowed him to become or to show to the world; he was fragile. Johnny was funny, caring, compassionate and incredibly sensitive; in some ways, it is a wonder he lived as long as he did. Johnny’s beloved twin brother, Ronnie, relinquished to his own struggles at age 17 and Johnny mourned Ronnie until the day he died. Ronnie was the charmer, the leader. Johnny was the enthusiastic follower, the fighter. There was something in Johnny that wanted and needed to overcome his own situation. He was the survivor, the strong one. Johnny could be difficult and demanding. But to those who knew him best and loved him Johnny was nothing more than a sensitive and caring soul who became overcome with and completely encompassed by an illness against which he could not win, which most do not comprehend and none would not want or choose to endure. Johnny will be greatly missed and fondly remembered; his family members are overwhelmed at the loss of their warrior.
We will remember Johnny for the humor he sometimes managed to find in his darkness. Even in his most difficult times, Johnny would share a drink at a wedding while laughing over the irony of the situation, remember an event from childhood while reeling with fear over his own life and safety, and offer help when he really didn’t have the energy or resilience to give his assistance. Johnny was incredibly compassionate and wanted nothing more than to know he was loved. And he was loved more than he knew.
Johnny will be laid to rest beside his brother Ronnie. His mother, Mildred McKee Hammonds, cared for and loved Johnny through his life-long trials and is devastated by his loss. Johnny is also survived and remembered by his step-father, Curt Hammonds; paternal grandmother Ruby McKee; sister Marla Richeson, her husband Alan and special niece Kylee; son Cory Talbott, his wife Nicole and granddaughter Lillian; daughters Katie, Alexis and Sarah McKee; and special aunt, Grace Fugate. In addition, Johnny is survived by cousins Denise and Michael Lunsford and predeceased by cousins Steve and Tommy Fugate.
A graveside service will be held at 11 AM on Monday, July 9, 2018, at Sunset Memorial Gardens with Taylor Fugate officiating.
If you are unable to attend the service, sign the guest registry at www.zieglerfuneralhome.com.
Ziegler Funeral Home of Athens has been entrusted with the care of Johnny Franklin McKee.