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Robert McKinstry, 71, Pinckneyville, died Wednesday afternoon in Memorial Hospital in Springfield.
A retired farmer, he was director, treasurer and claims adjustor for Pinckneyville Mutual Insurance Co, for 24 years and an employee of Decca Record Manufacturing near Pinckneyville.
Mr. McKinstry was born in Rice Feb. 23, 1912, the son of Thomas and Winnie (McCune) McKinstry. On Sept. 25, 1943, at Geneva, he married June Mills of Keenes, who survives.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Concord Baptist Church of Rice with the Rev. Eugene Dutton officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Friends may call after 4 p.m. today at the Schwebel Funeral Home in Pinckneyville.
Mr. McKinstry was a veteran of World War II and a member of the American Legion and Farm Bureau of Pinckneyville, and the Perry County Soil Conservation Board and AFC Committee. He was a member and trustee of the Concord Baptist Chruch and trustee and treasurer of Oak Grove Cemetery in Washington County.
In addition ot his wife, survivors include one son, Wayne McKinstry of Chatham, two grandchildren, three brothers, Elmer McKinstry of St. Louis and Raymond and Harold McKinstry of Rice, and two sisters, Helen Hubler of Pinckneyville and Rachel Francis of Nashville.
The Story of Robert McKinstry’s Life
Robert McKinstry was born February 23, 1912. He was the third of what would be six children born to Tom and Winnie McKinstry. The family was kind of poor because Tom suffered from heart disease. They did own their farm.
Robert had no middle name. In the Army he had to announce himself as “Robert no-middle-name McKinstry”.
Robert went to school at Duncan School. This was a country school a little over a mile from the McKinstry house. Besides grades 1-8, there was also a high school. They had the first three years of high school at Duncan. If you wanted to actually graduate from high school, you had to go at least the last year at Pinckneyville High. Robert dropped out of school when he was a freshman at Duncan. He was needed on the farm.
Robert was baptized March 4, 1928. They cut a hole in the ice of the pond for this baptism. Brrr.
When Robert was 12 Tom the Father passed away. The family was poorer than ever. When the brothers were older they could hire out to a neighbor. Also it was customary for young men in southern Illinois to go “up north” to work on a more prosperous farm further north in Illinois.
Once Robert was with a group of young men riding north, seeking employment on some farm. One of them looked out the window and said “That looks like a nice farm. I wonder if we could get a job there.”
Another started laughing and said “Yes, I reckon we could get a job there, right easy.” It was the “Peanut Farm” (Penal Farm) near Vandalia. People would be sentenced there.
Some time probably in the late 1930’as he met June Mills, who had been hired as a teacher at Duncan School. They married on September 23, 1943, in Geneva, IL.
Robert enlisted in the United States Army on April 21, 1941. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and he was in the Army “For the duration”. He was in Army camps in North Carolina and Hawaii. Then he went to the Palau Islands. This is in the Pacific, east of the southern part of the Philippines.
Robert sunburned easily, being of Irish ancestry. He kept volunteering to work in the kitchen as a way to be out of the tropical sun. Eventually he was leading a kitchen crew. He was Honorably Discharged December 9, 1945.
On returning to civilian life Robert resumed farming. He farmed two years in Jefferson County, IL, then returned to Perry County and farmed for many years on the old family farm. Robert passed away May 18, 1983, from ulcers.