Don Neil McKee

July 31, 1944 ~ July 12, 2018 (age 73)

Don Neil McKee was born July 31, 1944 in Oklahoma City to Jack and Lila McKee. Don lived in several states as a child because Jack was in the Navy. He studied at Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut for two years but graduated high school in Monterrey, California.


Don joined the Navy during the Vietnam War. Just before joining he married Phyllis Swainston. He served aboard a troop transport in the Mediterranean. The couple had a son, Matthew, after Don’s discharge. They moved to Seattle when Don was hired as a claims adjuster by Aetna Insurance.


When Don told Phyllis in 1970 that he thought he was gay, she left him, taking Matthew with her. He was not allowed to see his son again until he was 18, a price to be paid for being gay in those days.


Don met Robert Dlugosh in 1974. It was not love at first sight for Don but Robert was persistent. They bought a house together in West Seattle in 1978. This house would be Don’s home for the rest of his life. Don began studying to be a registered nurse in 1973. He received his RN degree from Bellevue College in 1978. He worked as a critical care nurse for Shepard Ambulance, West Seattle Hospital, and Highline Hospital, retiring in 2001.


Don married Robert in March, 2013 shortly after gay marriage became legal in Washington. They traveled extensively in their motorhome for ten years until Don became ill in 2017. He passed away from cancer on July 12, 2018. His husband Robert survives him. They were devoted to each other for 44 years.


A celebration of Don’s life will be held in August. Contact Robert at for details.

Share memories of Don on the guestbook at

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