Eugene M. McKelvey

Dr. Eugene M. McKelvey (Gene) of Houston, Texas died in his sleep on February 3, 2023, at his home. He was born on June 13, 1934, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and was the only child of Eleanor Mowry and Eugene McKelvey. He attended Yale University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physics. While Gene was at Yale, he joined the Yale Glee Club where singing became an integral part of his life. From Yale, Gene entered Johns Hopkins Medical School and in addition to his studies, he formed a singing group known as The DOA’s (Dead on Arrival). Gene later rejoined Glee Club friends in the Yale Alumni Chorus. They toured around the world including Wales, the Kremlin, and South America. He continued to sing in many church choirs, most recently the St. Philip Presbyterian Church Choir.

Gene married Florence Gemmill on June 19, 1960, in Washington, D.C. They had two children, Florence Ann McKelvey, and Eugene M. McKelvey III. During 1960-62, Gene completed an Internship and Residency at Boston City Hospital. It was then that the Berlin Wall was erected, and a doctors’ draft was instituted by the United States Government requiring physicians to enter the armed services. Gene had previously served a summer working in the Public Health Service at The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. He fulfilled his draft requirement from 1962-64 by returning to the NIH as a Clinical Associate. Gene became a Fellow and a Special Fellow in Hematology at Cleveland Clinic between 1964-66. In 1966, he moved to The V.A. Research Hospital and Northwestern Medical School in Chicago, Illinois, as a Hematologist and Professor of Medicine. In 1973 he became an Associate Professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. While there, Gene ultimately became Vice President for Academic Affairs and continued in that position until his retirement in 1996.

Gene was a life-long Presbyterian, ordained as a Ruling Elder in The Presbyterian Church (USA). He held many church offices including serving on the national General Assembly Council of The Presbyterian Church (USA), as chair of The World-Wide Ministries Committee, and as Moderator of New Covenant Presbytery. Gene and Florence have made many mission trips for the church over the span of 20 years. Gene also served as President of The Medical Benevolence Foundation Board of The Presbyterian Church (USA).

Aside from the love of his family, Gene’s two main interests were music and working for the Presbyterian Church (USA). He was a very principled, honest man who had a great sense of humor and wit. He also was a real “fix-it” man. At the age of 18, he rewired his family’s home, converting it from knob-and-tube wiring to modern standards. Gene was always designing and fabricating projects at home with wood, metal, or paint.

Gene is survived by his loving wife, Florence, their daughter Florence Ann, their son Eugene, and their respective families.

A memorial service will be held at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas, at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, February 25, 2023.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the organizations indicated below:

Presbyterian Church (USA) “World Mission,” P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700 and add a note that this is a memorial donation in the name of Eugene McKelvey. You can also go to www.pcusa.org/new-give and then selecting “World Mission” under Gifts to Support Presbyterian Mission. Select “This is a memorial donation” and type in Eugene McKelvey.

Memorial donations may be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486, as well. To give online, go to www.mdanderson.org and select Honor a Loved One. Click “Give in Memory Of…” and complete the page. Notification information is not required.