Cover photo for Samuel J. McKinley's Obituary
Samuel J. McKinley Profile Photo

Samuel J. McKinley

November 23, 1941 — December 26, 2023

Samuel J. McKinley


   Samuel James McKinley was born 11/23/1941 near Traer, Iowa, to parents John and Mary McKinley. He was the oldest of 6 children, John (Karol) McKinley, Mary (Morris) Dinsdale, Kathryn (Jack) Sylhman, Ema McKinley, and Murray McKinley.  Sam was predeceased by his parents, brother John, wife Carole Cutler McKinley and great nephew Jenson Aaron. He was proud of his Irish heritage passed on from his father and grandfather.   

   Sam dearly loved his mother.  He helped her in her extensive gardening, planting, weeding and harvesting produce.  Green beans, sauerkraut, she also canned much of the meat.  “Oh, that was the greatest food!”

   The McKinley family farmed in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Sam met the love of his life, Carole Cutler, at the 1st Baptist Church of Preston, MN.   They married and then son, Andrew James McKinley, joined their family.  Sam faithfully served in the church, always striving to honor his Lord.

   In the first years of their marriage, Sam and Carole lived in a trailer home on his Dad’s property, then when the “Hill Place”, came available, they bought dairy cows and started milking, even had pigs for a while. They worked hard as a team on their farms.  Sam loved to ride horses. He was glad that Andrew shared his love for horses.

   Sam worked very hard on their next dairy farms near Lanesboro and Lenora.  Twice a day milkings of 40-60 cows were part of his life for so long.  The semi trucks would come in from South Dakota with their loads of square bales and he would position the elevator at the hay mow.  He would be inside the steaming hot barn, stacking the bales.  Sam was a strong man.

   The few years that niece Beth and her dad, Earl, lived with the McKinley family on the farm were very special to Sam.  He loved having Beth with him on the tractor, in the barn and making sunny side up eggs early in the mornings. A great house was built during the late 90’s with some of the best couches to be slept on and the best dining table to be dined upon.

   As time went on, Sam went through quite the change when physical challenges necessitated a move from the farm to Omaha to be nearer to family.  Sam got a job at Von Maur in maintenance and worked there 12 years before retiring.  He was beloved by the staff there.  The shooting at Von Maur changed him.  There is something about huddling in a break room with fellow employees, pushing a vending machine in front of the door to stop an active shooter on the other side of the wall, seeing the aftermath of co-worker friends’ bodies throughout the store…Sam became a “hugger.” People mattered.

   Later in life, Sam became an unofficial “Greeter” at Christ Community Church.  No matter how big that sanctuary was, Sam was circulating the room before the service started, telling the Pastor that he was praying for him, giving out hugs to many who needed them.  His hugs and encouragement were a bright spot to many and earned his honorary “Greeter” title.

   Sam was a devoted Minnesota Vikings fan…and the Twins…and sometime Green Bay Packers (with a nod to the years in WI).  But if they were playing the Vikings, it was Minnesota all the way.  After moving to Nebraska, he came to love Husker Volleyball.  He knew names, stats…love them Huskers!  He wore his Husker Volleyball hat proudly!  He loved wearing the gear supporting all of “His” teams.  And he would tell you so!

   You may describe Sam as “faithful.”  Faithful to his wife and son, faithful to the extended family, faithful to his God.  We will miss him so.


Visitation and lunch 12:00 PM with Memorial Service at 1:00 PM.

Tuesday January 2, 2024 at Christ Community Church 404 S 108th Ave. Omaha, NE.


Roeder Mortuary 108th Chapel

2727 N 108th Street Omaha, NE




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