Sad news for San Diego

San Diego charities lost a loyal and generous friend with the recent death of Dan McKinney, at age 96.

In the past two years alone, he and his wife, Violet “Vi” McKinney, donated $20 million – $5 million each to the YMCA in La Jolla, San Diego Zoo, Maritime Museum of San Diego and YWCA’s Becky’s House domestic abuse shelter.

Dan made the gift to Becky’s House in honor of his wife, and it now bears her name. Likewise, for her 90th birthday six years ago, he gave her a surprise $1.5 million endowment fund that she directed to San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine.

The La Jolla couple has supported the San Diego Humane Society, Scripps Clinic, Meals-on-Wheels and other social services and medical causes over the years. Some of the facilities they bear their names.

Understated and low-key, the McKinneys moved to San Diego in 1956. He founded a distribution company for foods and beverages, including Coors beer.

The couple was included in the 2015 list of “America’s Top Donors” published by “The Chronicle of Philanthropy.”

Less than a month before his death on Aug. 26 of natural causes, Dan had attended, in a wheelchair, the launching of the Maritime Museum’s replica of Juan Cabrillo’s ship, the San Salvador, which Vi helped christen.