Mickey Lee McGinty
The Love of His Life...
On December 11, 1976, Dad married my Mom, Kerry Kuhl, who would be his wife of nearly 45 years. Together they had four children, lived in seven homes over four states, and made many, many unforgettable memories that will live on forever in the hearts of his family.
Going to California...
The first 17 years of their marriage they lived in Southern California, most of which was in the greater Los Angeles area. This worked well for Dad's career, since this was before the advent of the internet, so he could be close to the studios and ad agencies as he began to build his career.
Mom and Dad made life long friends through us kids' school, their neighbors, golfing partners, and other artists. They enjoyed spending time with all of them at various social events, our school sports games, bunco parties, and other gatherings, and even vacationing with them to Palm Springs, Big Bear, or even Hawai'i.
Back to Nebraska...
Eventually, they decided to move the family back to be near their hometown in Nebraska, partly to get out of the rat race and hustle and bustle of L.A., and partly to be close to family. At this time, a new planned community was just beginning to be developed just across the river from their hometown, a five minute drive from Nebraska and into the neighboring state of South Dakota (by way of a quick three minute pass through Iowa).
SIDE NOTE: You may hear our family sometimes say "Nebraska," "South Dakota," or "Iowa," as our home town/state. Honestly, we're not confused, it just actually is a little confusing! We'll say "Iowa" because we lived in the Sioux City region, and Sioux City is the largest city (and where we'd do all our shopping), but Mom and Dad were from SOUTH Sioux City, which is in Nebraska, just one minute away from Sioux City, Iowa. Yet when we moved to the Midwest in 1993, we actually moved to NORTH Sioux City, which is just across the other river, and is also only a one minute drive from both Iowa and Nebraska. Furthermore, the new subdivision and planned community in North Sioux City is called Dakota Dunes (the little red dot in the map below, juuuust on the South Dakota side of the river.
Clear as mud?
Mom and Dad built a custom home in Dakota Dunes, and both had recently recalled what a great experience it was for them. Often times, building a home can bring a lot of strife in a marriage, but Mom and Dad loved it. In the last 6 weeks of Dad's life, we found a lot of old camcorder tapes of various stages of the house being built. It was fun to see the development, but also just to wonder what was going on in their hearts as they saw this home come to life before their eyes.
We got to walk through the house in the Summer of 2020, as the current owners were gracious enough to let us tour it. It was so crazy to be there having not been there for 13 years. Then, in October 2021, as we were back there for Dad's Nebraska Memorial, it was a completely different feeling. We didn't go in, but as we looked upon it, it seemed empty to me. I know it's not. I know a family lives there and has loved it as we did...but it just felt empty, like an abandoned house. I'm not sure I will ever be ready to walk through it again, but I do think that I would want to at some point.
Mom and Dad lived in Dakota Dunes for 14 years, and during that time, all the kids had left for college, Dad had made a transition into digital art, and they had four grandkids brought into the family (with two more to come soon afterward). Dad loved golfing at Dakota Dunes, as the course there was master designed by Arnold Palmer, and it truly is a gorgeous course with its lush, rolling fairways carved out of the cottonwood tree forest, holes that meander along the mighty Missouri River, beautiful sunsets, lightning bugs, and deer that greet you frequently throughout the course.
Moving West Again...
Eventually, however, being far from the kids proved to be too much, and Mom and Dad put their house up on the market so that they could move back west, this time landing in Gilbert, Arizona in 2007, just to the east of Phoenix. Being in Arizona afforded them much more frequent visits with their kids in San Diego, as well as their daughter, Kacey, who already was living in Arizona and who today is now married with two children.
In Arizona, Mom and Dad were surrounded by a number of Mom's side of the family, all of whom also had migrated from South Sioux City and California over the course of a few years. With her dad also in Gilbert (her mom passed away there in 2015), her three sisters and their husbands and nearly all of their kids, most of whom themselves have their own spouses and kids, Mom and Dad had plenty of family and community over the course of the 14 years they had been there from their move and up until Dad's passing in 2021.
During their 14 years in Arizona, Mom and Dad enjoyed golfing together, spending time with friends and family, and it was there in Arizona where Dad's passion for fine art and plein air painting really took root and developed into a masterful craft. They had their best years there, particularly in the last few years when family time, travel, growing grandkids, and many, many amazing memories filled their calendar and their hearts.
NEXT: 6 Week Transformation