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Med professor remembered as a gentleman, scholar

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
Kelly T. McKee, M.D., professor emeritus and educator in the Department of Medicine with MUSC for more than 54 years, died at MUSC on Oct. 10. He was 92.
Dr. Jerry Reves, vice president of medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, left, and Dr. John Feussner honor Dr. Kelly McKee with a Charleston basket on his 90th birthday.

McKee joined the Medical College of South Carolina in 1949 as an assistant professor of medicine and rose through the ranks to become  full professor.
From 1967 to 1970, he served as acting chairman in the Department of Medicine. Following his retirement in 1988, he continued to work in the Department of Internal Medicine until 2003. McKee also wrote a history of the Department of Medicine on behalf of the institution that is filed at the Waring Historical Library and was a regular attendee at the department’s grand rounds sessions.
“Dr. McKee was a superb physician and clinical educator who devoted his professional life to our Department of Medicine,” said John R. Feussner, M.D., professor and chairman, Department of Medicine. “Despite retiring from the department, Kelly remained a regular attendee at the department grand rounds, and often opened the discussions with interesting and insightful questions for our speakers. Kelly was a genuine gentleman, in addition to everything else, and we miss him already—his grand rounds seat had been sadly vacant.”

“Dr. McKee was an inspiration to me as a student and remained so his entire career here - including the last few years when he faithfully attended medical grand rounds,” said Jerry Reves, M.D. “We will miss him enormously.”
McKee was born March 9, 1916 in Bristol, Tenn. He was the son of David Tilson McKee and Mary Kelly McKee of Bristol.  McKee received his undergraduate degree from Emory and Henry College in 1938. He earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia in 1941 and was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the Raven Society. He went on to complete his medical internship at Cincinnati General Hospital from 1941-1942 and cardiology fellowship at the University of Virginia from 1942-1943. He served as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy for three years and returned to the University of Virginia as an allergy fellow from 1946-1947 and as an internal medicine resident from 1947-1948.
In 1948, McKee came to Charleston to become a chief medical resident and teaching fellow at Roper Hospital prior to joining the teaching staff at MUSC. McKee was a member of First Scots Presbyterian Church.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Gladys (Sandy) Harvath McKee and sons, Kelly Tilson McKee Jr., M.D., of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Thomas Wray McKee, M.D., of Savannah, Ga., and other family.
“Dr. McKee was a gentleman and a scholar in every way,” said John R. Raymond, M.D., vice president for academic affairs and provost, and DCI professor of medicine. “An outstanding physician, he was one of the pillars of the medical staff during a time of remarkable growth at MUSC. He was a wonderful role model who was absolutely dedicated to his patients. He always conducted himself with equanimity and good grace. He shared his same high level of compassion and concern for patients with all of his colleagues. He was extraordinarily dedicated to supporting early career faculty members, and he did so with enthusiasm.”
“Dr. McKee was a true gentleman and possessed all the qualities one would hope for in a physican,” said Joe Good, MUSC General Counsel.  “He was devoted to his Church, his family, and to his profession.  I will sorely miss his friendship and his sage advice.”
Memorials may be made to MUSC’s Department of Internal Medicine, 18 Bee Street, Charleston, SC 29425 or First Scots Presbyterian Church, 53 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401.
A memorial service honoring McKee’s life and career is planned at 11 a.m., Oct. 27, at St. Luke’s Chapel.  

Friday, Oct. 24, 2008

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