John “Pete” McKay

emblemJohn “Pete” McKay


John McKay, Pete to those who knew him, passed away peacefully on December 29, 2020 at the age of 93 from complications due to COVID-19.

Pete was born on a dairy farm in Caledonia, NY in 1927 to parents Loretta and John McKay. Too young to fight in WWII, he joined the Merchant Marine instead and later served in the Army during the Korean War.

He spent the majority of his career in sales, first selling magazines then BernzOmatic blow torches (once lighting Liberace’s candelabra with a torch during a convention), and later construction equipment and services. He finished his career as Sales Manager for Williams, Beck & Hess of Camby, Indiana.

He met the love of his life, Paula Sierp, in 1957, hooking her by making dinner for her and her friends. Married in December of that year, they later purchased a small farm in Waverly, where they raised a Noah’s Ark of animals as well as their beloved daughter Alida. Pete and Paula grew and put up their own vegetables with Pete becoming a master gardener in his retirement. They enjoyed classical music together, and Pete volunteered for the Fine Arts Society of Indianapolis.

Pete never knew a stranger and made friends through all his life’s adventures. He loved to amuse friends and family with his stories, whether about the people he met during his travels or his rambunctious sheep Rambo.

He is survived by wife of 63 years, Paula (Sierp) McKay, daughter Alida, son-in-law Patrick, and grandson A.J. Zweidler-McKay, brothers Don and Dave McKay, sisters-in-law Helga and Lucile McKay, and several nieces and nephews (Andrew, Kate, Rebecca, John, Tracy, Tom, Andre, Bridget, Petra).

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Indy Honor Flight (

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