Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Phillip McKee ’94:
9/11 firefighter succumbs

Phillip C. McKee III graduated from Yale in 1994, studied history at Harvard, began training for the Catholic priesthood, started a web business, then finally settled in the DC area with his future husband, Nopadon.

Well, not finally. After a stint as a volunteer firefighter, McKee decided to make that his day job in early 2001. Months later, terrorists struck on 9/11, and McKee spent three days battling fires at the Pentagon as a first responder. He inhaled toxic fumes, sustained a permanent leg injury, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the end, those wounds were too much for McKee, who died in a Virginia hospital just a few weeks after his 41st birthday. “He succumbed to his injuries,” says his online memorial. Friends and former colleagues from the Arlington Fire Department turned out for his funeral on June 11, remembering him with “a twinkle in his eye.”

After retiring because of his disabilities, McKee turned full-time to his artistic passion: stained glass. He published a how-to book, Make It or Break It: Stained Glass for Beginners, and ran an online business. In his spare time, he tried to save New Haven’s much-loved Yankee Doodle Coffee Shop.

McKee is survived by his husband, son, father, and other loved ones.


Filed under Phillip McKee, 9/11, stained glass
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