A Whitley County Man Is Remembered For Heroic Efforts

By Madeline Shine - 21Alive

March 7, 2014 Updated Mar 7, 2014 at 6:13 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) — A woman and her family is remembering the man who lost his life in a fire earlier this week due to his heroic efforts.

Bob McKinzie was known as the man who would take the shirt off his back for anyone who needed it and that's why his family isn't surprised he went back in the house that night to save his son in law.

“It doesn't surprise me at all that my dad went back in for rick. It's the type of man my dad was. He didn't even think about it. He just did it,” son Robert McKinzie Jr. said.

Mckinzie died early this week in a late night fire that set a blaze to his Whitely County home that destroyed everything.

He died when he went back in the home to save his son-in-law, who died as well. But along with being remembered as a hero, McKinzie was a family man. He was actively involved in his children and grandchildren's lives. He's survived by many family members as well as 14 grandchildren.

“He loved to fish, he loved football, he loved his grandkids, baseball was coming up, he loved to watch my son play baseball, he's happy, he always had a smile on his face, very good natured, would do anything for anyone, enjoyed life.”

McKinzie's wife Sherry says he's the best friend she ever had, and through thick and thin she is able to say she is proud of him for what he did in efforts to save his son-in-law.

“You couldn't ask for a better man. I married the best friend of my life. And I’m just, like I said, I’m just so proud of him.”

His family said his good spirits were contagious and no matter what, he could always turn your bad day into a good day.

“A joy to be around. If you were having a bad day, if I was having a bad day over at Dalton first thing I would do is I’m going to go talk to my dad, and I would go down there and be like dad, do you know what happened to me today? We'd sit there and talk about it and if I was really upset, he'd have me laughing by the time I left, because he would just really brighten up anyone's day,” daughter Treena Burkett said.

At the end of the day his family says he will always be remembered as a hero.

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