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Community mourns death of Dr. Peter McKoy

Posted: April 4, 2014 2:29 p.m.
Updated: April 7, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Camden is mourning the passing Wednesday of Dr. Peter McKoy, long-time veterinarian and community leader. Born in Wilmington, N.C., on Sept. 9, 1943, McKoy graduated from Edmunds High School in Sumter, Clemson University and the University of  Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine.

McKoy opened Wateree Animal Hospital on Church Street in Camden in 1972. The business moved to its present location on York Street eight years later. Dr. Patrick Wylie is a veterinarian who worked with McKoy at Wateree Animal Hospital. He said McKoy remained involved in the business even after he stopped actively treating animals.

“He never really retired, but he quit seeing patients about eight years ago. That was so he could spend more time with his family. He had grandchildren coming and wanted to spend more time with them,” Wylie said. “He still owned the hospital and was here every day to mentor the younger vets, making sure his vision for the practice was in line.”

Wylie said McKoy had the ideal personality to deal with pets and their owners.

“The biggest thing with him was living up to the mission statement, ‘caring hearts and caring hands.’” Dr. McKoy was not just about the pets, he was about the people, too,” he said. “He realized that they are just as much a part of the health as the pets were. His heart was geared toward helping people and he felt the best way he could do that was to have the best care for the pets.”

Wylie also said McKoy’s spirituality guided his life.

“Dr. McKoy as a man was a faithful Christian and cared more about others than he did for himself. He was always the first one to open his heart and let you know what he had learned in his life,” he said. “His forté was taking care of people and I think anybody that knew him would say that.”

Close friend Alan Wooten said McKoy had a major influence on his life.

“He was a dear friend of mine. I knew him close to 50 years. We ran around together when we were young and both grew up kind of rough. He came into my life and led me to Christ,” Wooten said. “I can’t say enough about him. He was a man’s man. What you saw was what you got, he was very consistent and he didn’t back down from standing up for what he believed in.”

Former Camden High School football Coach Billy Ammons also said McKoy was a dear friend.

“I knew Pete really well, He was an inspirational guy, he was the best friend you could ever have, he looked out for homeless people and was a super guy. He was a few years older than me. I knew him for years,” Ammons said. “We went to church together, were in men’s groups together and had similar things we liked to do. I coached two of his sons. One of his daughters and my daughter are best friends. We’re losing a great friend with his passing.”

Karen Eckford said she got to know McKoy well, especially in recent years, and found him to be an inspiration.

“I became acquainted with Dr. McKoy shortly after I moved here in 1995. Our paths crossed through the years. Over the last five years we got to know each other better. He would frequently stop by my office to chat,” she said. “He was a man of strong faith and we talked about that. He always left me feeling so much more lifted up and energized. You could tell the sincerity of his thoughts. He was straight from the heart. He loved everybody and he was very generous with his time.”

McKoy was a member of First Baptist Church of Camden. Pastor Rev. Bruce Hancock said McKoy was a leader in the church and community.

“Pete McKoy had a deep love for Jesus Christ that was exhibited in his life on a daily basis. During his 21 years as a member of First Baptist Church, he impacted the lives of numerous men in the church and community,” Hancock said. “He will be greatly missed by those of us who knew him as a dear friend and brother in Christ.”

McKoy is survived by his wife of 33 years, Peggy Smith McKoy, five children and 13 grandchildren.

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