The Gallia County Emancipation Board will honor and dedicate the 2016 Homecoming Reception and Concert in memory of Board Member and Area Philanthropist George "Ray" McKinniss who passed away December 2015. The 2016 Homecoming Reception and Concert will be held Friday, September 16, 2016 at the Ariel-Dater Hall located at 426 Second Avenue, Gallipolis, Ohio beginning at 6:00 pm.

Pillars of the community are often defined as individuals who are so intrinsic to the communal fabric of a region’s population that it is difficult to imagine those individuals not being there to support the people within them. When a pillar is removed, it can outright rock a region. However, such people build legacies to continue carrying on the vision that person held in life, long after they are gone. Many people in Gallia County and beyond regarded Ray as that person.

Ray lived his life in service of his community and modeled life for everyone around him serving as an Eagle Scout, a chair and volunteer leader on many boards and committees. As the past Gallia County Chamber of Commerce president, the 2014 Bud and Donna McGhee Award recipient, an organizer of Ohio Chautauqua, a member of the Emancipation Celebration Committee and many other organizations too numerous to mention, Ray displayed this commitment until his final days. Employed by Bob Evans Farms, Inc., he held many different positions over the years, but lastly and most proudly, as the Manager of the Bob Evans Farm for over 20 years.

McKinniss was also known at the state level. He served on the Ohio Travel Association and the Appalachian Country Board. For roughly 30 years, he was part of the Heartland Travel Showcase.

Ray was first and foremost a family man. The sun rose and set for Ray with his three sons, their wives and most of all his four precious "grandbabies."

Surviving are his wife of 39 years, Teri McKinniss of Rio Grande; three sons and daughters-in-law, Heath and Melissa McKinniss of Jackson, Justin and Brieanne McKinniss of Columbus, Travis and Kaley McKinniss of Jackson; four grandchildren, Garrett, Carsen, Audrey and Hadley; his mother, Barbara McKinniss of Wellston; two brothers, Terry (Faith) McKinniss of Gallipolis and Chris (Rachel) McKinniss of Mansfield; sister-in-law, Judy Cunningham of Lancaster; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.