Dr. William McArn McKell Jr. (Bill) of Ridgeland died October 7, age 80, at home. Bill was born in Oxford on October 26, 1937, to William McArn McKell and Annie Mae Fowler McKell. While his father was an officer in a Coast Artillery Unit along the east coast during WWII, Bill and his mother briefly resided in Tupelo; the family later moved to Jackson.
He was graduated from Central High School in 1955; Bill considered his teammates from the undefeated 1954 Central High Tigers (Big 8 Champions) best of friends throughout his life. After graduating from high school, Bill attended, and graduated from Millsaps College in 1958, cum laude, with a B.S. in chemistry. It was then on to the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, where he received his M.D. in 1962. At UMMC, Bill was AOA, Phi Kappa Phi, and won the ASCP award for meritorious student research. He was commissioned by the USAF and served a rotating internship at Wilford USAF Hospital in San Antonio, where he was recipient of the Outstanding Intern Award. Following a Primary Course in Aerospace Medicine at Brooks AFB in San Antonio, Captain McKell served as flight surgeon for the 19th Bomb Wing at Homestead AFB in Florida. After an honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1965, Dr. McKell began a residency in internal medicine and fellowship in gastroenterology at UMMC in Jackson.
Following the completion of his post-graduate training, he began the practice of internal medicine and gastroenterology in his home town of Jackson. Dr. McKell was the first flexible-endoscopist in the state, and tells of what was then state-of-the-art technology now considered primitive by today’s standards. In 1985 he married his loving wife of 33 years, Jacqueline Carol Goolsby.
After practicing in Jackson for 17 years, and realizing how fortunate and blessed he had been, Dr. McKell considered various ways in which he could “pay back”. He and Jackie decided on something in their native state, and accepted the position of chief medical officer at the Choctaw Health Center in Philadelphia. He elected to return to private practice in Houston, Miss., then in Pascagoula. Upon retiring from private practice, he was involved in hospital administration with the Singing River Hospital System in Pascagoula and Ocean Springs. Dr. McKell was board-certified in internal medicine and in gastroenterology; he was member of numerous professional societies, and served on national committees, serving the American College of Gastroenterology, and the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Along the way, he served as chief of staff, Doctors’ Hospital in Jackson; chief GI Lab at St. Dominic’s in Jackson; and chief Department of Medicine, chairman endoscopy committee, and physician coding educator at Singing River Hospital System. Dr. McKell was assistant professor (gastroenterology) at UMMC from 1968-1996; consultant to Mississippi Foundation for Medical Care; medical advisor and co-founder, Mississippi Ostomy Association; member Governor’s Commission on Wildlife-Associated Tourism; and medical director, Volunteers in Medicine Gautier (2009-2012).
Bill and Jackie shared their love of God’s great outdoors, and when he was not on-call and she not behind her desk as director of medical records, they would be together in the woods or on a bass boat. It was here that Dr. McKell began writing about their adventures and expanding his love for preparing them for gourmet table fare. He served as southern director, Mississippi Chapter, Safari Club International, was a staff writer for Mississippi Safari Magazine, outdoor columnist for the Mississippi Press, columnist for Wildlife Mississippi, and medical advisor for the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. He had two cookbooks published: Mississippi Meals – Plain & Fancy and Game Gourmet.
He was ordained as a deacon and then an elder at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Jackson. He and Jackie are members of St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Jackson.
Dr. McKell is survived by his beloved, beautiful wife, Jackie; children Lee Ann Kantor (Kevin), William Stewart McKell (Linda), and Mary Kathryn McKell; sister Ann Elizabeth Jordan (Bubba); grandchildren Luke Kantor, Kyle Kantor, Anna Emery (Ron), and Chris Hill (Ellen); two great-grandchildren and numerous great-nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Volunteers in Medicine Gautier (www.vimgautier.org) and fill out an organ donation card.
Honorary pallbearers are the surviving members of Coach Doss Fulton’s 1954 undefeated Big 8 Championship Jackson Central Tigers: Smiley Ratcliff, Sonny Ferguson, Sonny Thomas, William Jeanes, Peyton Passons, Jack Griswold, Steve Waldrop, and Hamp Miller.
Funeral arrangements are pending.