Bob McKinney

Obituary of Bob McKinney

Robert Ralph McKinney

October 28, 1939 - August 18, 2023 

With heavy hearts, the family of Robert (Bob) McKinney announce his passing after a brief illness on August 18th, 2023.

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick on October 28, 1939, Bob is survived by his beloved wife Janet (Peacock), son Mark (Patti), daughter Ellen (Jamie Thorpe), sister Imogene Elliot. Bob was a member of Rivercross Church.

Raised in the North End of Saint John by his late parents Ralph and Elizabeth (Snelling), he began taking piano lessons at the age of 5. The definition of musical prodigy, he was heralded for his incredible technique and improvisational skills. He could play anything, with anybody. Notable performances included his own live radio show broadcast from Quebec’s Chateau Frontenac, two international tours with the US-based gospel group The Continentals and several recordings with Canadian fiddling legend Ned Landry. He was a proud member of the Bruce Holder Band, which among other prominent gigs, was the longstanding stage band for the Atlantic National Exhibition. He produced and recorded numerous instrumental CDs in various styles including Jazz, Pop, Country, Gospel and Latin.

In addition to performing, Bob taught music at Forest Hills Elementary. He directed the school’s musicals which had a profound impact on his students. He loved bringing his choir and recorder group to the annual Empty Stocking Fund telethon. Upon his retirement. the theatre at Forest Hills Elementary was renamed after him to honour his 30 years of teaching at the school. 

Music eventually took second fiddle to his true love, his wife Janet, who he met while teaching in 1968. They married in 1969 and raised Mark and Ellen together in a home they built in Meehan’s Cove. Bob was the epitome of hero in caring for Janet during her long term diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease.

One of his passions was traveling, particularly road tripping. He loved spending summer vacations loading up the van and driving his family around the East Coast and as far as Arizona. His favourite travel companions included his sister Imogene, his late brother-in-law Bernie and his niece Susan. His family was his pride and joy.

Many don’t know that Bob was quite a daredevil and could waterski barefoot and backwards. He was also known for his quick wit. 

Bob’s family misses him dearly and his incomparable talent will be cherished by the local music community.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Brenan’s Funeral Home, 111 Paradise Row, Saint John, NB (506-634-7424). A Funeral Service will be held from The Brenan’s Chapel on Thursday, August 24, 2023, beginning at 12:00 PM. Interment will take place in Fernhill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s memory may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, Diabetes Canada or the Kidney Association. Online condolences may be placed at 

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