Billy was the fourth of seven children born to William and Geneva McKinney. In order of age there are: William, Delores, me (Lawrence), Billy, Robin, David, and Elizabeth.
As our parents were in the Army, the family tended to move around considerably in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Each of the five older children were born in different states or countries.
Billy was born in Fort Belvoir, VA. The family moved to Tacoma, WA while he was an infant. Billy grew up there, and spent most of his adolescent years in the same house in east Tacoma.
He attended Lincoln High School where he excelled academically. Upon graduation Billy was accepted into the Naval Academy. He attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School and then Annapolis Naval Academy. He graduated with a degree in Physical Science and elected to serve in the United States Marine Corps as a commissioned officer.
He had many duty stations during his four years of service in the Corps, including MCRD, San Diego and the Philippines. It was while he was serving there that he met his future wife, Gregoria (Caroline). Upon his discharge from the military they were married. Their daughter, Dara, was born shortly thereafter.
Billy took up residence in San Diego and worked for a brief time as a limo driver before being hired by the city as a police officer.
I was a motorcycle officer at the time and one of my proudest moments was presenting his badge on his graduation from the Regional Academy.
Billy served most of his police career at Southeastern Division. It was there that he developed an abiding love and respect for juvenile law. He was selected as a DARE officer and worked several area schools.
Like many of his peers, Billy held the dream of home ownership. Unfortunately, at the time, home prices in San Diego were prohibitively expensive. After much searching he bought in booming Temecula. He enjoyed taking anyone who would go to his dirt lot as the house was built from the ground up. He was very proud of the completed project and enticed close family friends to move into the neighborhood.
Billy commuted from Temecula to Southeastern for many years. But, like with many officers, over time, the daily drive became very difficult. He then transferred to Northeastern Division.
In short order he was selected to the NE Juvenile Services Team. He served there for many years and made many new friends both in the department and in the schools he worked with. Billy was truly impacted when the department was forced to cut back on non-patrol assignments.
Still, he did not complain when he was re-assigned to NE patrol. He always held out the hope that at some point in the future staffing would allow him to return to JST.
In late 2007, Billy was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. He was given 6 months to live. He continued to fight and that 6 months stretched into 2 and a half years. During that time he was transferred to Investigations where he worked in the Wire Room at NTF. He was welcomed by the task force as a new family member and often commented about how much he loved the assignment and the new things he was learning.
On January 16, 2010, Billy succumbed to heart failure brought on by his lung cancer. Friends and acquaintances alike remember him as a “gentle giant”, a big, quiet man who never lost his temper or raised his voice. He was a man of faith who took comfort and strength in his beliefs.
Billy is survived by his wife, Caroline and his daughter, Dara, his brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces. He is remembered well by a host of friends as a fine Marine and SDPD officer.