Robert Levi McBee
Robert Levi McBee passed peacefully, wife and son by his side, born to Calvin Levi & Wavah (Tripp) McBee in Braymer, Aug. 25, 1927. He is a Grandson of J. W. McBee of the Clan MacBean from Scotland. Robert was a writer with a great sense of humor. He loved sharing stories of people, historical events, and his Scottish heritage. His articles were published in many newspapers and magazines.
In Salina KS, as a sergeant of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Robert was editor of the base newspaper “The Takeoff”. In 1946 Robert covered the “Iron Curtain” speech given by Winston Churchill in Fulton, at Westminster College. In 1952 Robert graduated with a political science degree from that same college. He then became a reporter for the Kansas City Times/Star in Kansas City and Independence, where he also covered the Truman Library. When there, he interviewed the artist, Tom Lea, who was painting a mural on a library wall and was fortunate to hear President Truman playing the Missouri Waltz on the piano that had been brought from the White House.
Later, Robert edited the Independence Pictorial News and moved to Denver to edit the Catholic Reporter. He returned to Missouri when the publishers of the Pleasant Hill Times asked him to be editor and run their newspaper as if it was his. It was a blue-ribbon job, like receiving an Oscar. He was appointed in 1965 to the Missouri/Kansas Transportation Authority by Gov. Warren Hearnes.
By the ‘70s Robert was ready for his next challenge, one that used not only his writing skills but also his political science background, as Public Information Officer for the federal government. His work now fielded queries for the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Jobs Program, Corps of Engineers, Fifth Army, and Veterans Affairs. While working with the VA for seven years in Chicago, Robert came up with the idea of Valentines for Vets. So, he contacted Ann Landers who agreed to use her column each year for that purpose. It went viral! He and Ann created an event to distribute some valentines in person at the VA hospitals. Robert retired in 1995 as assistant director of the Dept. of Public Affairs.
Retiring did not stop Robert’s passion for writing but gave him time to become an active member of the Scottish Society. Also, he kept busy editing the Clan MacBean Register (published in the U.S.). He is credited on the internet for his tracings of the Clan MacBean families (listed as: “From the papers of Bob McBee of Kansas City, MO”) and in the McBee family history book “Out of the Wilderness” by his cousin, Janice Mercer.
Robert’s humor, heritage, and passion will live on in the words he has written, as well as in the family he is survived by: his wife of 61 years, Lucy Armijo McBee; three sons, Martin Christopher (wife Janet), Mark Antony, Mathieu; four granddaughters, Amanda (husband Adam), Elizabeth, Ariel, Melissa; great granddaughter Ruby; his brother, Charles Calvin McBee of Braymer; and two sisters Myrna and Angie. Plus, since Robert’s dad had sixteen brothers and sisters, there are many, many surviving McBee cousins.
Services for Robert Levi McBee were held Saturday, April 30, 2022 with an 11AM mass at Visitation Church in Kansas City, MO and were followed by the burial at McBee Chapel Cemetery in Braymer, MO.