McKay was a San Diego State University graduate and a 25-year veteran of radio, television and print news during a distinguished career. He previously worked for the Freeport Journal-Standard and the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group. In recent times, McKay was perhaps best known as editor of the newsgroup's biweekly Peninsula Beacon, covering Point Loma and Ocean Beach.
“Kevin was a very talented editor and journalist,” said newsgroup publisher Julie Main. “He was easy to work with, did his job quietly and efficiently. Kevin had a great sense of humor and a great laugh! He always managed to keep things light and fun in the office. Losing him is like losing a family member. He will be missed by many.”
“Kevin was always a pleasure to work with,” said Ocean Beach MainStreet Association Executive Director Denny Knox. “When we celebrated the 125th birthday of Ocean Beach (in 2012), he worked to make sure the Beacon had the best feature story on our community. We use the information in that insert all the time even today. We were so sorry to hear of his passing. Kevin McKay was a very memorable person, and we will miss working with him.”
Facebook and other tributes echoed the sentiment of Byron Wear, former San Diego deputy mayor and District 2 councilmember.
"Kevin was a great journalist,” Wear said, “and was passionate about the public's interest. He lived San Diego and our community.”
“Kevin was perhaps the most polite person I’ve ever met,” newsgroup anchor reporter Dave Schwab added. “He had a lifetime of knowledge, experience and insight. He left us much too soon. He was a warm, personable and upbeat person. That, I’m sure, is how he will be remembered by others fortunate enough to have shared this journey we call life.”
Schwab recalled how McKay, a big Chargers fan, once lost a bet with a co-worker, a converted vegetarian from Denver, over which team would win a playoff game. “The bet,” Schwab said, “was that the loser would have to eat either meat or tofu. The look on Kevin’s face nibbling away at the 'tofurkey' — however reluctantly — was unforgettable.”
Griffith Davies worked with McKay in 1987, when the latter was fresh out of college, at a small government access channel in Rancho Cucamonga.
One day, Davies said, “It snowed. Kevin had never seen snow falling before. He was running around with a big smile, scooping up the freshly fallen snow and throwing it at us. He was incredibly happy.
“For my 18th birthday,” Davies continued, “he gave me a CD of The Beatles Sergeant Pepper's album. I still have that very same disc, all these years later. Sad to hear of his passing. He was truly a good guy.”
McKay had been married twice previously and is survived by his mother Jean, 92, of University City, for whom he had been caring in recent years.