IVA EARL LYNCH MCKINNEY WHEELER, 86, of Berryville, Arkansas departed this life July 21, 2018 to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and those loved ones who have gone before her.
Iva was born September 13, 1931 on a farm near Clifty, Arkansas that was part of the original homestead settled by her grandfather in the 1850’s. She was the third of five children and the only daughter of her parents, Ike and Gladys. She often talked about growing up during the Depression but never knowing there was one as she said, “we had everything we need to live, we grew it ourselves.” Gospel music was a big part of her life growing up and as a teenager after her family had moved to Rogers. She sang with the rest of her family on Sunday mornings on the local radio station live. After graduating from Huntsville High School, she moved to Berryville where she met and married her first husband, James (Muck) McKinney. They had three sons but lost two of them, one as an infant and one only seven years old. Then in 1966 Muck died suddenly and Iva was a 35-year-old housewife with a thirteen-year-old son to raise by herself. She ran the family business for a few years while also going to college. She soon sold the business and went to work for the Farmer’s Home Administration and later worked for Social Security before she retired and moved back to the farm she grew up on. In 1996 she met and married Tommie Wheeler, a retired fireman and outstanding musician, who shared her love for music. For the next sixteen years, Iva and Tom played and sang together traveling to bluegrass and gospel music festivals wherever they could find one. She always said it was some of the best years of her life. Iva was a past president of the Business and Professional Women of Berryville and Sierra Club Environmentalist of the Year in 1995. She seemed to excel in whatever she did whether it was bowling, tennis or anything else she choose to pursue. For all of her accomplishments in life there was nothing that she was more proud of than family. Wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, even cousin and in-law, she was all of these and loved everyone in a way that made them feel special. She seemed to touch everyone she met in a way that few people can. All who knew her will miss her.
Iva is survived by her son, Tim McKinney and wife, Grace of Berryville; two brothers, Doyle Lynch and wife Barbara of Berryville; Jack Lynch and wife Malinda of Springdale, Arkansas; one sister-in-law, Dorothy Lynch of Fayetteville, Arkansas; four grandchildren, Isaac McKinney and wife, Amanda of Siloam Springs, Arkansas; Jeff Bailey and wife, Candice of Texarkana, Texas; Faith McKinney and Abigail McKinney of Berryville; seven great-grandchildren, Cain Bailey, Joey Bailey, Scarlett Bailey, Eli Bailey, Sara Grace Bailey, Henry McKinney and Hugh McKinney; numerous other relatives, loved ones and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ike and Gladys Lynch; two husbands, James McKinney and Tom Wheeler; two sons, Jimmy McKinney and Mark McKinney; brother, Robert (Bob) Lynch; brother and sister-in-law, J.B. Lynch and wife Jackie.
Visitation will be Wednesday, July 25, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Charles M. Nelson Memorial Chapel in Berryville. Funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., Thursday, July 26, 2018 at the Charles M. Nelson Memorial Chapel in Berryville with Pastor Eric Lynch and Pastor Matthew Spate officiating. Interment will follow at the service at the Berryville Memorial Park Cemetery under the direction of Nelson Funeral Service. Memorial donations may be made to the Berryville Memorial Park Cemetery Fund, PO Box 311, Berryville, AR 72616. Online condolences may be sent to the family at nelsonfuneral.com.