Getting to Know... John Herbert McKay Jr.

Darryl Wheeler/Gettysburg TimesMcKay

Age: 63

Lives: Abbottstown

From: Richmond, Va.

Educated at: University of Richmond (BA); Eastern KY University (MM); Additional graduate work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, Ken.) and at The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.)

Family: Dr. Gretchen Kreahling McKay, wife

Job: Senior choir director, Trinity United Church of Christ

Job's reward: The ability to shape a particular choral sound by utilizing various techniques.

What I hate about my job: meetings

Very first job was: paper route (by car)

Favorite food: Just about anything Greek

Pets: None

Hero: The late Rev. C. N. Dombalis, vicar of the Greek Orthodox Church in Virginia. As Father Dombalis' assistant, I learned there is no such word as "can't."

Hobbies: gardening and musical composition

Pet peeves: People who think membership in the church choir does not require any commitment.

Collects: antiques

Best friend: Wade Hampton Goodwyn III - a descendent of THAT Wade Hampton.

Would like to have witnessed what event in history: The capture of my great-great-grandfather, William C. McKay (23rd VA), on Culp's Hill during the battle of Gettysburg.

Event that changed your life: My first trip to Europe when I was a teenager.

Your scariest moment: After a weekend of coordinating security for Muhammad Ali at a fundraising event for wounded Iraqi children, Ali approached me and made a fist in my face. Thank goodness he then smiled and shook my hand.

Your first memory: Throwing my glass bottle out of my crib. My mother said that was my last bottle.

Trait inherited from parents: musical ability

Piece of advice that you live by: My grandfather always said: say what you mean and mean what you say.

Who needs a hug? Everybody

Favorite reading/author: The Holy Bible has the most wisdom of any book I have ever read.

Favorite spot on earth: Just about anywhere in Virginia.

Website you visit most: The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia's largest newspaper - where I was a special correspondent for a decade.

Would like concert tickets to see: Wagner's "Das Ring der Nibelungen"

One bad habit: Procrastination, but I need to think about that some more!

3 items on your bucket list: Visit the Grand Canyon, Italy and Hawaii

Five minutes with: the Pope

What skill or lesson would you like to learn? I'd like to learn to fly - a plane!

What would people find surprising about you? If I had not become a musician, I would have liked to become a farmer.

What would make this world a better place? Everyone following the golden rule.

What is the best piece of news you received lately that you would like to share? The Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church are talking about reunification.

How would you like to be remembered? As a man of integrity.

- By Alex J. Hayes, Times Managing Editor

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