Douglas McKay, Jr. was born August 12, 1917, in Columbia, S.C., to parents Douglas McKay Sr. and Anne L. Walker McKay. He attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Carolina in 1939 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1941. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa honorary fraternity and the boxing and track teams.
In 1941, McKay began practicing law in Columbia with his father, Douglas McKay, Sr., in the firm of McKay and Holmes. He practiced law for many years with McKay, McKay, Black & Walker and then formed McKay, Cauthen, Settana & Stubley, P.A. (The McKay Firm), where he practiced until his retirement in 2003. He was licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
McKay was a member of the American Bar Association, American Bar List of Preeminent Lawyers, American Law Institute, S.C. Bar, Richland County Bar Association, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel, International Association of Insurance Trial Counsel and the S.C. Defense Trial Attorneys’ Association. He served as chair of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Workers’ Compensation Laws for many years, modernizing the Workers’ Compensation Act. He received the first Worthy Adversary Award from the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Special Recognition Award from the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission. McKay also served as a mentor to young lawyers.
McKay was a member of the St. Andrews Societies of Columbia and Charleston, Columbia Sailing Club, Cosmos Club, Columbia Cotillion and Torch Club. He was a charter member of the Palmetto Club. McKay was also a member of the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.
McKay held lifelong interests in historical events in South Carolina, Lowcountry culture, music, science and medicine. He had a lifelong love of music, played the piano and refused a scholarship offer from the Juilliard School in New York to pursue his legal career.
Douglas McKay, Jr. died on September 10, 2008. He is survived by four children, Helen M. Clarkson (son-in-law, N. Heyward Clarkson III), Douglas McKay III (daughter-in-law, Patricia M. McKay), Bentham W. McKay (daughter-in-law, Brenda K. McKay) and Julius W. McKay II (daughter-in-law, Sarah C. McKay); and eight grandchildren, Nathaniel H. Clarkson IV, Walker “Chris” Smith, Dr. Katherine M. Kotz, Douglas McKay IV, Buchanan M. McKay II, James B.W. McKay, Jr., J. Cain McKay and Robert E.W. McKay.