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Charles R. McKinstry

May 18, 1928 ~ August 11, 2021 (age 93)


He was a good man.

It is said so often, used to describe someone when you don’t know what else to say.

In the case of Charles McKinstry (May 18, 1928 to August 11, 2021) it is a tremendous understatement.

Charles was a man like few others. He was born in Brilliant, Ohio and lived his entire life there. He was a lifelong member of Brilliant First United Presbyterian Church and spent his years of employment at Tidd and Cardinal Plants just outside of town. He also worked at his brother, Gerald’s, Sunoco station in town. He was custodian, along with his wife and kids, at the Presbyterian Church and Brilliant Community Center. He was a Sunday School Superintendent, Session member, basketball referee, coach and Mason.

Charles was an athlete his entire life. Though small in stature, he was supremely gifted in basketball, softball, golf, tennis and bowling. He was inducted into the Brilliant Hall of Fame in 2018. When his eyes failed and after hitting a hole in one and shooting his age multiple times, he gave up golf but continued to walk “his” town.

Charles married the love of his life, Shirley Moffatt, on December 19, 1947. Some said he married her for the pies she left cooling on the window sill of her kitchen, though truth be told, those were baked by her step mom. He and Shirley married during difficult financial times and found themselves living with and near Charles’ mom, Grace McKinstry, for several years. But through hard work, they soon moved their growing family into their home on Steuben Street. Charles, Shirley and their four children spent many happy years in that home. The family walked to church on Sundays and the kids walked to school.

Charles continued to be active in sports and began coaching Little League and cheering his children on in their own pursuits.

He was the best dad ever. He was always supportive and encouraging. He was respectful and so very funny. He would tease about stealing treats and icing from cake. He would purposely mispronounce words, tell jokes and wrestle with the kids.

These kids, now long grown, will miss him dearly. They are Susan (Ed) Spencer, Bruce McKinstry (former but always Daughter-in-Law, Monica), Pam (John) Zorbini and Nina (Carl) McHugh.

Charles also leaves behind many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren…the blessings of a life well lived.

After the kids had moved on, Charles and Shirley spent winters in Jacksonville, FL. There, they met many friends who became like family. They kept in touch even after their years of travel were done.

Charles’ wife, Shirley, died five years before him. He missed her every day.

He was so looking forward to reuniting with her in heaven.

During the five years following Shirley’s death, it was his daughter Nina who was his caregiver. She visited many times daily and took him to his appointments and favorite lunch spots. She was so patient and loving and even efficient:)

Charles was a friend to so many through the years. His smile was as contagious and as bright as his sparkling blue eyes. Long after his years of sports and coaching and work were behind him, friends would tell stories to his children of his kindness.

That kindness was returned to him in small and amazing ways…the cards from church friends, the short visits, the phone calls, the funny conversations, the waves from the street as folks walked by his window on 3rd Street. We can’t thank you enough for that.

Charles was a good man. He took care of his mom, his church, his family, his friends and his community. He was generous, honest and kind, always thinking of others before himself. He loved his servers at DQ, Bob Evans in Martins Ferry and KFC. He loved ice cream and fried chicken. He loved life.

We loved him. It was an honor to be loved in return and to be valued by him. We will treasure the last years when he could lean on us just as we leaned on him for so long. We will always remember.

We know he has gone on to be with our mom and his Lord Jesus. And we know he’s shooting a heaven of a game of hoops with Pastor Kenn.

Friends are invited to gather at The Brilliant First United Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. for a visitation and memorial service at 12:00 p.m., with Ron Retzer, officiating.

Charles hated masks but wore them. He was practically first in line for his vaccine. Therefore, kindly wear a mask inside if you are not vaccinated.

Donations to First United Presbyterian Church of Brilliant are welcome.

Arrangements were entrusted to Wheeler Funeral Homes.

Offer condolences to the family at

Information for ordering Fingerprint Keepsake Jewelry

Legacy Touch Company

PIN number for Charles - DPXD8R9F

PIN number for Shirley - DJ36RYBW

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To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Charles R. McKinstry, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Visitation
August 17, 2021

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Brilliant Presbyterian Church
200 Main St.
Brilliant, OH 43913

Memorial Service
August 17, 2021

12:00 PM
Brilliant Presbyterian Church
200 Main St.
Brilliant, OH 43913

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