Barbara (Bobbie) Jean Ellis McKinley, age 94, passed away peacefully on October 24, 2023 in Townsend, Tennessee with her family by her side. Barbara, affectionately called Bobbie by her family and friends, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on March 10, 1929, to the late Nathaniel Wesley Ellis and Janet Nelson Ellis. She was the oldest of three children. Bobbie graduated from Ensley High School and attended the University of Alabama. While working at Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad (TCI) she met her husband, Bob, when he was working as an auditor in her office. They were married in Birmingham on May 12, 1950. Barbara and Bob moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1953, where they made their home with three daughters, Marsha, Suzanne and Janet. Bobbie attended the University of Tennessee – Nashville and performed accounting and bookkeeping services for several small companies in Nashville and the State of Tennessee Department of Labor.

Barbara and Bob moved to Spring Hill, Tennessee, in 1972 where their attention turned to raising registered Polled Hereford cattle and Tennessee Walking Horses. The McKinley’s soon made a name in the industry as premier breeders and handlers of Tennessee Walking Horses. Barbara and Bob traveled around the world but always found the time and energy to bring the extended family together at more than 40 years of July 4thand Thanksgiving reunions. Barbara was actively involved with the Spring Hill United Methodist Church choir and United Methodist Women. She was a loving, caring and strong woman who always put her family and friends before herself. 

Barbara was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, James and Albert, and her loving husband of 68 years, Bob McKinley. She is survived by her daughters, Marsha Bennett (Carl) of Phoenix, Arizona; Suzanne Bennett (Ted) of Brentwood, Tennessee; Janet McKinley of Townsend, Tennessee; and grandsons Austin McKinley Bennett (Christina) and Connor Mitchell Bennett.

Visitation was held October 28, 2023, at the Spring Hill Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Funeral services were conducted immediately following the visitation.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Good Days non-profit organization ( to support those suffering from chronic eye conditions, or The Pat Summit Foundation (