Laura Kathleen (Harris) Fitzgerald McKinney, 94, of Bangs, passed from this life on Friday, April 3, 2020 in a Brownwood nursing facility. Kathleen was born on the family farm, near Bangs, on Jan. 20, 1926 to Carl H. and Laura (Boenicke) Harris. She was the Valedictorian of the Class of 1943 at Bangs High School and later attended Howard Payne College and Odessa College.


Kathleen married Jeff Fitzgerald on Oct. 23, 1943 in Brownwood. She would later marry Riley McKinney in 1987 after Jeff’s death in 1983. Kathleen taught piano to many students before retiring in 2005 after 60 years. In that same time she also was the organist for the First Baptist Church of Bangs.


In 1979, Kathleen was listed in the Hall of Fame of Piano Guild U.S.A. Kathleen served as State President of the Texas Federation of Music Clubs and travelled nationally in that role. She served as President of the Odessa Music Club, she was a sponsor for the Federated Maestoso Junior Music Club, a member of the Schubert Music Club, the Brownwood District Music Teachers Association and Cross Timbers Music Teacher’s Association of Tarleton State University.


In 1980, she served as a Piano Guild Judge throughout Texas. Kathleen truly loved her piano students and took pride in each one and helped each student to further pursue his/her music ability. One of her favorite hobbies aside from music clubs was writing skits. She wrote and directed a historical music play about the history of our community that was very well received. While Kathleen was a resident at The Chatfield, she and her sister, Betty Jean Cooper, would entertain the other residents with their piano duets.


Kathleen is survived by her three children: daughter, Sandra Kay Driskill and husband Allen of Early; two sons, Ken Fitzgerald and wife Gayle of Bangs and Carroll Fitzgerald and wife Colleen of Waco; seven grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and a sister, Betty Jean Cooper of Brownwood.


She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 40 years, Jeff Fitzgerald; second husband, Riley McKinney; and a brother-in-law, Newt Cooper.


Kathleen will be laid to rest at a private family graveside at the Bangs Cemetery.


The family requests memorials be made to the First Baptist Church of Bangs, 402 2nd St, Bangs, 76823 or a favorite charity.


Condolences, memories and tributes can be offered to the family online at heartlandfuneralhome.net.