Norm McKie was born in Watertown, South Dakota and spent his grade school days in Sioux Falls. His high school years were spent in Pipestone, Minnesota, graduating in 1953. After attending the University of Minnesota for one year he went into the U.S. Army for two years as an ammunitions and explosive instructor at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. Norm and Eunabel were married in Pipestone in 1957, where Eunabel was born, raised and graduated from high school. The years of 1960 and 1961, found him receiving his bachelors and masters degrees at South Dakota State University in Brookings. Accepting a teaching position in Hanford, California, Norm and Eunabel plus Mark and Faye, who had both been born in Brookings during this time, packed their possessions in a U-Haul trailer and headed West. The next three years (1961-64) were spent in Hanford, California, in San Joaquin Valley surrounded by cotton and grape ranches. We literally consumed “pounds” of fresh fruit that first year and added another addition, Tammy, to our family. In 1964, Norm made a change in school systems, so our next stop was Santa Maria, California, on the coast. Here the McKie family enjoyed all the thrills of the beach – clamming, fishing, crabbing, beachcombing, and almost losing our car in the surf. Two years later, the call of owning our own business was heard. After much deliberation, Norm gave up the teaching profession and entered into partnership with brother, Rodney, which became McKie International Harvester and Chevrolet in Sturgis. In 1969, Norm and Eunabel bought a cabin in Rapid Canyon and their family enjoyed many hours on the weekends on Rapid Creek. After the destructive 1972 flood, they sold what was left of the property and bought a condo on Terry Peak – skiing became their weekend past time. During this time, Norm along with brother, Rod, bought the Cooked Oaks Angus Ranch near St. Onge. They raised, showed, and sold registered Black Angus cattle.
In 1979, McKie International Harvester and Chevrolet was sold to the Hersruds of Lemmon, South Dakota.<'xml:namespace prefix = o />
Soon, Frontier Ford of Rapid City, S.D. was purchased and renamed McKie Ford. Later they purchased Oldsmobile, Cadillac and GMC Truck renaming it Gold Key. They also owned Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Saab known as the Import Store. Other businesses owned were Rapid Lube, ABRA Body Shop and Avis Car Rentals in Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Casper, Wyoming, and Cody, Wyoming.
Norm retired in 2000, selling the businesses to his son, Mark McKie and nephew, Ross McKie.
Business and personal travels took Norm and Eunabel to Mexico, Greece, Turkey, Monte Carlo, Italy, Switzerland, England, Ireland, Scotland, China, Hong Kong, Hawaii, France, Belgium, Thailand, Costa Rica and East Africa – plus some great trips within the United States. Their home and boat in Naples, Florida, was a great destination for their children, grandchildren and friends.
It was daunting but rewarding times. Education, children and money were our focus. South Dakota never let us down. Nor did we let South Dakota down. The struggles of Norm’s great grandparents, grandparents and parents – the loss of farms and businesses never did we lose our vision to better ourselves. We boot strapped our way up. That vision is a South Dakota vision that we and others take pride in. As the saying goes, “it is the journey that counts”. I stand on the shoulders of my South Dakota pioneer ancestors. How lucky can one be!
Among Norm’s many contributions include Ellsworth Air Force Base Military Affairs Committee serving as Honorary Munitions Commander, 28th Munitions Squadron, 1985-2000, furnishing many cars for visiting dignitaries. Also he has charter contributor to Ellsworth Air Force Base Air and Space Museum.
For three years sole donor to the Johnson Siding Community Christmas parties. Also, his commitment to furnish asphalt pavement for the Johnson Siding Community Center parking lot and has furnished brick for the facing of the Johnson Siding Community Center.
The preservation of Rapid Creek has been of primary interest and Norm created the Rapid Creek Fisheries Restoration Project at Eagle Cliff near Johnson Siding through the United States Army Corps of Engineers – Omaha District, NE Permit #199530130. This involved approximately one-fourth mile of creek frontage to rebuild Rapid Creek and improve fish habitat. Norm’s favorite conservation effort has been to preserve Rapid City’s namesake, Rapid Creek. Silting and contamination from urban growth is a serious problem. Rapid Creek is on the path from becoming a flashing trout stream to a catfish habitat. A challenge for all. In keeping with Norm’s environmental and fish habitat history, he was the lead and major donor for the West River Game Fish and Parks Outdoor Campus new aquarium.
Norm served as capital campaign co-chairman and was a major donor for Trinity Lutheran Church, Rapid City, in 1988. He has donated a new car to Trinity Lutheran for Pastor’s use and provided the 2009 Easter breakfast for all members and visitors, including drive-up service for those individuals that did not attend services. Other organizations receiving donations include the Rapid City YMCA, Lutheran Social Services, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rapid City Regional Hospital, Youth and Family Services, Chamber of Commerce, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Sports Stadium, South Dakota State University West River Agricultural Center, Black Hills Workshop, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, United Blood Services, South Dakota Railroad Museum, Ducks Unlimited, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials, major donor to Lasting Legacy, a bronze statue at Memorial Park in Rapid City.
In 1898, Great Grandparents McKie migrated to Gary, South Dakota, by steam engine and covered wagon (farmers). All five succeeding generations were born in South Dakota, except Tammy, lived and made their living here and all deceased are buried here. They have three children. Mark McKie (Kristol) and Faye Bice (Sam) both of Rapid City and Tammy Snider (James) of Lebanon, New Jersey. They are also the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren: Matthew, Karris and Kassie McKie, Joel and Kyle Bice, Mark and Jeffrey Snider. All are either college graduates, in college, or soon to be in college.