Cover photo for Max "Gene" McKinley's Obituary
Max "Gene" McKinley Profile Photo

Max "Gene" McKinley

December 23, 1931 — December 9, 2023


Max "Gene" McKinley


Max "Gene" McKinley, 91, of Monticello, passed away early Saturday morning, December 9, 2023 at his residence.

He was born at the family home on December 23, 1931 in Monon to the late Willard and Tot (Young) McKinley. On February 8, 1953 he married Alene Clerget at the Presbyterian Church parsonage in Monticello. She survives.

Gene was a 1950 graduate of Monon High School.  He served in the Army in the 350th Mountaineer Division during the Korean War and served in the Ski Patrol while stationed in Austria. He skied the Alps transferring radios to various command posts. Gene went on to work for the Don Dickenson SinClair Service Station in Monon which he later purchased and owned until 1983.  In 1974, he started Thrasher's Woods Campground which he owned and operated until his retirement in  2008.  The campground was his pride and joy. 

He was a member of Monon Methodist Church.  He was a charter member of the Lafayette Indiana Historic Auto Club (LIHAC).  He enjoyed antique cars and restoring them to perfection.  His auto club memberships lead him on many tours, trips and winning many trophies.  His most enjoyable trip was out west driving his Thunder Bird. He was a member of the Tuesday Night Cruisers.  He had been a Boy Scout leader in Monon which inspired him to start the campground. He was a member of the American Legion.  He will be cherished always as a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and loving man to all who knew him.

Along with his wife, Alene of Monticello, Gene is survived by six of his children, Laura Henneman of Davenport, IA, Carol Green of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, Sharon McKinley of Monticello, Jane (Lloyd) Overton of Monon, Cathy (Jeff) Klopfenstein of Monticello, and Max (Melissa) McKinley, II of West Lafayette; son-in-law, Bob Bir of Crossville, TN; seventeen grandchildren; and twenty great grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by an infant son, Jeffrey and a daughter, Diane Bir; and his brother, Charles McKinley. 

Visitation will be from noon until the time of services celebrating Gene's life at 2:00 pm Sunday, December 17, 2023 at Springer-Voorhis-Draper Funeral Home of Monticello.  Rev. Russ Alley will officiate services.

Burial will follow in Bedford Cemetery with military rites rendered.

Memorial contributions encouraged to the Monon Methodist Church or to the Lafayette Indiana Historic Auto Club (LIHAC).  Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.

Friends and family are encouraged to share a photo, a memory, or messages of condolence at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Max "Gene" McKinley, please visit our flower store.


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