|Med professor remembered as a gentleman, scholar
by Cindy Abole
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.
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.
joined the Medical College of South Carolina in 1949 as an assistant
professor of medicine and rose through the ranks to become full
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
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
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