Sue Burke McKain

Sue Burke McKain, wife of David L. McKain, died at home Aug. 22, 2013, surrounded by her family.

She was born in Parkersburg on Dec. 20, 1932, to parents Robert L. and Gertrude Burke. She was preceded in death by her parents and first husband, Lt. William Alan Somerville.

Sue graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1950, second in her class. One of the joys of her life was the deep and treasured friendships that she made in high school and college, which continued throughout her life.

She went on to attend the University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing. She transferred to Marietta College and earned her degree while working full-time. In that time, she was inducted into The Phi Beta Kappa Society and was a member of the Chi Gamma Chapter, Chi Omega Fraternity before graduating summa cum laude in 1955. Upon the death of her first husband, she returned to Marietta and earned a teaching certificate. In 2012, she was in the long blue line at Marietta College honoring her long-term commitment as an alumna.

She married David L. McKain in 1960 and moved to Alexandria, Va. There she continued raising her family, joined and helped lead the local chapter of American Association of University Women as well as other local organizations. She also won medals for canoeing in the President’s Cup Regatta a part of the America’s Cup competition.

In 1970, she returned to Parkersburg with her husband and family. She became actively involved in the family business, Acme Fishing Tool Co., serving as vice president. She later served as director of Read Aloud West Virginia installing the Read Aloud program in all 55 counties in West Virginia. She completed her working career as executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Mid-Ohio Valley.

Sue was always active in the community and instilled a spirit of volunteerism in her children. She held many leadership roles including various school PTA and Booster Clubs for 23 years, YWCA leadership starting in 1972 holding positions of chairman and president of the board and spearheading the capital campaign to build a new YWCA complex on Dudley Avenue in 1974.

Later she was a driving force in setting up a permanent foundation for promoting YWCA goals. She was instrumental in establishing the first Read Aloud program in Wood County Public Schools. In 1983, Sue was appointed by the governor as a charter member of the West Virginia Education Fund. She was also a board member of the Fine Arts Council, which became what is now Artsbridge.

Sue was passionate about many other causes and served those organizations, including president of Altrusa International Parkersburg Chapter, board member of West Virginia Oil and Gas Museum, Smoot Theater board member, president of Chapter L of PEO in Parkersburg and member of the Parkersburg Country Club.

One of her proudest volunteer achievements was being the mother of two Eagle Scouts.

First Presbyterian Church of Parkersburg benefited from her time and dedication over the last 40 years, including ruling elder, deacon, trustee, Sunday School teacher and preschool director teacher. She also served on various committees of the Presbytery of West Virginia.

In 1995, her community dedication was recognized when she was named Woman of the Year for W.E.A.L.T.H. (Women of Excellence and Leadership) a program for which she had played a pivotal role in establishing.

With all of these activities, she still found time to be a lifelong reader, avid walker, killer card player, cook and hostess, seamstress, tennis player, traveler, boater and most importantly wife and mother.

Sue is survived by husband, David L. McKain; children, Margaret and husband James Grier, Carolyn Blend, David Jr. and wife Kristen, Katherine and husband David Chesley and John and wife Carla; grandchildren, Jonathan Grier and wife Priscilla, Brian and Eric Blend and Benigno and Gabriella McKain; step grandchildren Konnor and Willow Brown; and great-grandchildren, James Grier and Gabriel Hernandez. Sue is also survived by her brothers, Robert and Michael Burke; and her loving dog Rosie.

The family would like to thank Housecalls Hospice and Nancy Smith for their outstanding care

Visitations will be held from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. today at Leavitt Funeral Home in Parkersburg. The memorial service will be 2 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Parkersburg on Juliana Street.

It is suggested donations be made to the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Cancer Society.

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