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Lynn Frances McKinnis was born in Wichita, Kansas on October 11, 1948 to Delbert and Marietta Baker. Delbert was a jazz musician. At the age of 4, her family uprooted and moved to Kansas City, Missouri to experience the rich jazz culture and enable Delbert to play tenor sax for some of the jazz greats. Kansas City was home to giants Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Jay McShann and more. As a young girl, Lynn had the opportunity to meet some of the jazz greats, obtain autographs, sometimes attend the performances, and enjoyed jam sessions at her home. Often her parents hosted some of the traveling musicians, as most hotels were segregated leaving the musicians with no accommodations. That was the beginning of her appreciation for jazz and all music. Using her inherited musical talent, Lynn played the piano and was a faithful choir member of Mount Olive Baptist Church.
Lynn attended Central High School and graduated in 1966 as a mighty eagle. After graduation she attended Central Missouri State University and was soon employed by Bayer Corporation. Lynn retired from Bayer Corporation as a quality control officer after 26 years. She also was employed by the Kansas State Baptist Convention. A devoted mother of three boys and wife, she was more than happy to be the central figure in the lives of her children. She was a star in their eyes and that is all that mattered to her. She instilled within them a sense of pride and how to represent themselves in public. As a sports enthusiast, Lynn particularly enjoyed watching “her Chiefs and her Jayhawks” and women’s tennis when Serena and Coco played. For many years as a world traveler she visited, Israel, Africa, Italy, Spain, and Rome. Cruising the Mediterranean and Caribbean was her favorite. She even attended both of the Obama inaugurations.
After retirement, her morning ritual consisted of watching her favorite morning programs, especially GMA Deal of the Day, and gardening, in which her neighbors would observe her presence and stop to chat and visit. With her home located on a corner lot, she took great pride in maintaining the landscaping. Her demonstration of culinary skills allowed her to cook homemade rolls, sweet potato pie, and German chocolate cake during the holidays, but she was also known for her banana pancakes, chili, western beans, and greens. Her compassion for others allowed her to support and volunteer at the women’s domestic violence programs in Shawnee. Her love for fashion and couture explains her sense of style from glasses, fancy hats, down to handbags and boots. She was always regal and “put together”. During the last two years of her life, she took a lot of pride and energy caring for her overly active “Grandma’s baby”, Little Lance, and was a major influence in his life. Even through her health challenge, she always had time for his childhood development.
As Lynn battled a genetic disease, she never stopped fighting. She was always determined and stayed strong. Through her, we know what resilience and perseverance truly looked like. On August 10, 2023 she joined her heavenly family and gained her wings.
She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Leander McKinnis; sons Landon McKinnis ( Katrina), LaRon McKinnis( Lisa); sister, Sherdella Sims( Arthur); grandchildren Tyla McKay, Brogan McHugh, Zoe Evans, Little Lance McKinnis, nieces and nephews, and a host of friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Delbert and Marietta Baker and son, Lance McKinnis. Her legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone she interacted with as well as those she reached but never met.