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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8065 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

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For the week of January 9 - 15, 2002


Friends remember 
Paul McKinnon

A ‘Sun Valley Institution’ and 
a ‘terrible golfer’

Express Staff Writer

Paul McKinnon is being remembered by many Sun Valley old-timers and learned about by many Sun Valley newcomers after his sudden death on Dec. 31 at his Hagerman, Idaho, home.

McKinnon retired from the Sun Valley resort in July 1997 when this picture was taken. Friends say he was small in stature, but big at heart. Express photo by Jack Williams

McKinnon, 70, once the senior bellman for the Sun Valley Resort, was witty, funny, and a pro at making visitors to the Sun Valley Lodge feel at home. He retired in 1999 after 41 years of service at the resort.

Wally Huffman, the general manager of Sun Valley Resort, called McKinnon "a Sun Valley institution."

"For almost 40 years Paul was the first person to greet the Sun Valley guests, and he always had a smile and a joke for all of them. For many of them, he was ‘Mr. Sun Valley.’"

McKinnon’s old friend Archie Levitan used the word "imp" to describe him.

"He was a little imp of a guy with a wild sense of humor," Levitan recalled.

"We were bellhops together in 1957. He was a good hard worker. All who knew him loved him, but he had a devilish sense of humor.

"He was the kind of guy who could say anything and get away with it."

Another longtime friend of McKinnon’s, Jack Flaherty, also met McKinnon in 1957. Flaherty was a pastry chef for the Sun Valley Resort at the time.

"Sun Valley was smaller then," Flaherty said, "and everyone knew everyone else. And Paul and I were both from New England."

As an example of McKinnon’s humor, Flaherty told the story about one of their hunting trips.

"Paul was talking with this guy, telling him how he had cut back on his smoking during the trip because I wouldn’t let him smoke in the car.

"So the guy asked Paul why he didn’t drive his own car.

" ‘It was my car!’ Paul said."

Like Levitan, Flaherty remembers McKinnon as "a terrible golfer."

"But he loved to golf," he said.

Flaherty said that he would tell a story of McKinnon’s humor on the golf course at a celebration of his life at the American Legion Hall in Ketchum on Friday, Jan. 11. The memorial service is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

He said McKinnon was "small of stature, but a real big man, big-hearted and a good friend."

The last time Flaherty saw his friend alive was at the Sun Valley employees dinner in December.

He and his wife Marryann sat with McKinnon and his wife Kelly.

And true to the end, McKinnon "kept coming up with one joke after another."

An obituary appears on Page A18 of the printed edition of the Idaho Mountain Express.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.