Retha Wynema Wade McKinney

August 23, 1930 - December 8, 2020

It is with sadness in our hearts that the family of Retha Wynema (Wade) McKinney announces her passing peacefully at home on December 8, 2020, in South Jordan, Utah.

Retha was born August 23, 1930 in the tiny town of Cole, Oklahoma. She was the seventh of eight children born to Minnie (Simmons) and Charles Gus Wade. She married William “Gene” McKinney, a young oilfield worker, at the tender age of 16, in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Shortly after their marriage, Retha and Gene traveled to Mississippi, Louisiana, and eventually settled in West Texas (Midland), where they lived and raised their children for over two decades. A job transfer brought them to Vernal, Utah in 1972, where they saw to their younger children leaving the nest, before moving to Ogden, Utah, Casper, Wyoming, and eventually back to Sandy, Utah. In 2004, Retha and Gene moved back to West Texas, where they lived for 12 years before returning to Utah in 2016. Gene passed away in 2018, after  71 years of marriage; by anyone’s standards, an incredible feat.

Retha was a lifelong Christian. Her faith was evident in how she raised her children and lived her life. She embraced the tenets of Christianity her entire life, and in fact, cherished them. She was a loyal wife, kind and gentle mother, loving grandmother, and good neighbor to all. Never one to put her own needs before others’, she quickly became a giving church-member wherever she resided, and volunteered in any capacity she could to support the congregation. Serving others was completely second nature to Retha, and she touched many, many lives by doing so.

Within the family, she was the impetus and Matriarch of the McKinney Family Dallas Cowboys Fandom. Thanksgiving Day meals were planned around the traditional Cowboys game, and she would watch to the very end, even if they were getting trounced. And she would have been the first to admit that she had a years-long crush on Troy Aikman. For the rest of the family, watching the Cowboys play will never quite be the same without her being decked out in her impressive arsenal of Cowboys’ garb, cheering them on.

Retha, especially in her later years, often spoke of her family, and it was clear she loved her brothers and sisters. She spoke of hard times growing up, that were softened by the bond of a loving family. A gifted storyteller, her children and grandchildren relished hearing tales of her shotgun-wielding Granny Simmons on the Oklahoma Plains, the zany antics of her sister, “Sis”, the unconditional love between her and her beloved sister, “Pid”, whose loss too soon Retha mourned eternally, and the nasty old cats her family inherited that soured her against that species forever. These stories and others will last for generations within our family.

Retha is survived by her kid brother Bobby in Phoenix, Arizona, and her five children: Gina Meadows (Chris) in Marble Falls, Texas, Joe McKinney (Martha) in Houston, Texas, Vicki McKinney in South Jordan, Utah, Terry McKinney (Deniel) in Vernal, Utah, and Larry McKinney (Sunni) in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Retha is survived by 13 grandchildren and 20 great–grandchildren, all of whom will dearly miss her. She was preceded in death by her parents Gus and Minnie Wade, her sisters Madge “Sis” Holt and Lorene “Pid” Mallory, and the Wade brothers, Ernest “Son,” Leon, Frankie “Nooge”, and J.C. “Jay.”

Consistent with the current guidelines, the funeral will be by invitation only, however, those who wish to attend virtually may livestream the service on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 at 4:00 PM by visiting this page and clicking the “Watch Service Live” button. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Salt Lake County Meals on Wheels program. Information on donating can be found at

Special thanks to the hospice caregivers who gently assisted Retha in her last months; in particular, Shelby, Linda, Melisa, and Joe. The tenderness and kindness you showed her will never be forgotten.