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John Daugherty McKey, Jr

September 10, 1943 ~ March 28, 2022 (age 78)


John Daugherty McKey, Jr.,78, of Highlands, NC, passed away Monday, March 28,2022. Mr. McKey was born in Atlanta, GA September 10,1943 to the late Dr. John Daugherty McKey, Sr. and Joyce Roper McKey.

The family moved to Orlando, where John spent his childhood days. He developed a fondness for golf spending time with his father, a pediatrician, at the Orlando Country Club and vacationing at Highlands Golf Resort. He expanded his golf experience with friends through high school. John decided to follow his father’s footsteps to take courses leading to medical school at Duke University. This lasted one year when the call of the golf course intervened as he was awarded a Golf Scholarship at University of Georgia and became a Golf Team letterman. The team won the SEC Championship in 1965. He graduated in 1965, also achieving honors in Business Finance. John, then proceeded to earn a law degree at University of Florida and practiced law for 40 years. At intervals, he served in US Army Reserves and later in US Navy Legal Division. Over his civilian career Mr. McKey was a developer of several golf courses in Palm Beach, Florida area. During this period, he played on the Amateur Golf Tour.  He was inducted into the Southern Golf Association, later serving on the Board of Directors and as President from 1999-2000. This prestigious organization is instrumental in promoting amateur golf. They Sponsor and officiate the Southern Amateur Championship annually, from which the champion qualifies to play in the Walker Cup.  He enjoyed membership in two top ranked golf courses: Seminole Golf Club and Pine Valley Golf Club.  Always keen to golf news, when the Highlands Golf Resort was advertised for sale, he co-founded the Highlands Country Club in 1980 with his law partner Jim Mackie. He served on the Golf Committee fostering tournament play many years. The annual Bobby Jones Invitational gave him an opportunity to enhance the program by bringing in Walker Cup Players and Golf Pros from near and far. John McKey called Highlands Country Club his fondest achievement and claimed Highlands, NC as home in his retirement. It was during this time that he found a new challenge - the game of croquet. He enjoyed dual sports with friends in his latter years. And he was a devoted member of the Highlands United Methodist Church.

Survivors include his wife, Kathryn Robinson McKey; daughter, Allison McKey Nichols (Justin); stepdaughters, Rev. Caroline Unzaga (Rev.Jay), Laura Zimmerman (Daniel); grandchildren, Maddy Nichols, Walter Nichols, Henry Nichols, Isabel Unzaga, Sebastian Unzaga, Micah Zimmerman; sister Joy McKey; nieces Carrie Grote (Tom), Erin Elliott (Andy), and Ashley Behm (Aaron); brother-in-law, Dr. Newell Robinson (Victoria); nieces, Ruth Robinson, and Sarah Salzer (Benjamin); nephews, Dr. Bryce Robinson (Katie), and Hunter Robinson. 

A graveside service will be held Saturday, April 2, 2022, at 11:00 am at Highlands Memorial Park, with Rev. Randy Lucas officiating.

Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is serving the McKey family. Online condolences may be made at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
April 2, 2022

11:00 AM
Highlands Memorial Park
Memorial Park Drive
Highlands, NC 28741

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