Ruben James McKinney, 69, of Havre, died Nov. 19, 2012, from pancreatic cancer. His funeral service will be 11 a. m. Saturday at Van Orsdel United Methodist Church. His burial will be held at the Kuper Memorial Cemetery in Chinook, Mont., at 3:30 p. m. Saturday. In lieu of flowers, Ruben would like you to remember him with donations to the Montana Innocence Project, P.O. Box 7607, Missoula, MT 59807, or to a charity of a person’s choice. Services and arrangements have been entrusted to Holland & Bonine Funeral Home.
Ruben was born in Neihart, Mont., April 1, 1943, in a half-slab, half-log house, delivered by his grandmother, Ethena McKinney. Ruben grew up in Zortman, Landusky, Hilger and Lewistown. He enlisted in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged on Sept. 27, 1967.
Ruben married Wanda Bahr, Jan. 28, 1968, in Havre. He was very active in his community, serving in Jaycees, honored with a senatorship. He was also a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a life member of the Disabled American Veterans, a member of the American Legion and a member of the First Baptist Church.
Ruben was an avid gun collector, shooter and hunter. He referred to himself as the worst fisherman in the world, but said he enjoyed every minute he spent fishing. He gained friends in all corners of the state as he spent many years on the road selling advertising, owned and operated the 3rd Avenue Barbershop and continued to help his friends out in the barbering community, giving many a kid his or her first haircut.
He ran twice for the House of Representative seat on the Republican ticket, staying active in his party always.
Ruben was a proud member of the VFW Honor Guard, “happy to serve” as often as possible, providing final honors at numerous military funerals.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Benjamin T. McKinney and Irene Blevins, Ray and Lucille Beattie; and his daughter in-law, Robin McKinney.
Ruben is survived by his wife of 44 years, Wanda Bahr McKinney; sons, David McKinney and Benjamin McKinney; daughters, Sarah Griffith and Sheri Campbell; grandchildren, Julie, Jacob, Tyler, Johnny and Dylan; brothers, Doug Kolczak and family, and Bruce Beattie and family; sister; Peggy Proctor and family; aunt, Belle McKinney; and several nieces and nephews.
Ruben is survived by several extended family members, but wished to make special note of his cousin and lifelong friend, Danny Williams.