Linda Kay McClay


Linda Kay McClay, 74, of Galesburg, Illinois, died at 12:15 a.m. Thursday, June 13, 2024, at Knox County Nursing Home, Knoxville, Illinois.

Linda was born in Galesburg on September 21, 1949, the daughter of Mary K. (Brown) and William R. McGee. She graduated from Galesburg High School in 1967 and Galesburg Cottage Hospital School of Nursing on May 28, 1971, as the class valedictorian. Linda went on to a 42-year career in nursing, beginning at Cottage in 1971 and in 1973 she moved to St. Mary’s Hospital where she remained the rest of her working years. Throughout the years, Linda worked her way to becoming a nursing supervisor, trauma nurse, Director of the ICU, and lastly Director of the ER, retiring on September 30, 2014.Along with practicing in a caring, friendly, and loving way, Linda loved to mentor new nurses.

Linda married John William McClay on March 15, 1997, in Geneseo, Illinois. John survives in Galesburg. Linda is also survived by two sons, Kevir (Julie) Donnelly of Galesburg and Lucas Donnelly serving in the United States Military; one daughter, Mindy (Phil) Emmens of Schaumburg, Illinois; eleven grandchildren; and one great granddaughter. Linda is also survived by one sister, Patti Patton of Washington, Illinois; one stepson, Michael (Michelle) McClay of Knoxville, Illinois; two stepdaughters, Julie (Chris) Bakos of Metamora, Illinois and Amanda (Chris) Leng of Aledo, Illinois; and a sister-in-law, Caroline McGee of Utopia, Texas. Along with her parents, Linda was preceded in death by one brother James.

Linda was a founding member of Faith Baptist Church in Galesburg; a longtime member and treasurer of Galesburg Glass Favorites Corvette Club; and had been attending Knoxville United Methodist Church. Linda loved to travel, especially to the western and southern states and Hawaii. In her first marriage she fostered many children, adopting 8. She enjoyed the quietness of reading, the joy of hearing great music, and the liveliness of dancing. Linda tried to live by her father’s teachings: never hold a grudge, forgive, live life with joy and laughter. As a mother and wife, Linda had a loving and nurturing heart. She loved God, her family, and her career.

Visitation will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, 2024, at Watson Thomas Funeral Home and Crematory, Galesburg. Funeral services will follow at 10:00 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. The burial will be at Oneida Cemetery, Oneida, Illinois. Memorial contributions may be made to OSF SMMC Auxiliary, Galesburg Rescue Mission, Faith Baptist Church, or Knoxville United Methodist Church. The family would like to thank Beacon of Hope Hospice for their loving care and compassion. Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at

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