When it came to anything in the news cycle, Minette McGhee would always have an answer.
“I would see something on the news and not get the complete story, so I’d call her for more information, and she would get right back to me,” recalled her cousin Pamela Bullock. “She was a real news junkie. I think that must’ve been part of her DNA and the reason why she got into journalism.”
Mrs. McGhee, 58, died unexpectedly on July 5, according to her brother Karl Wilson.
Mrs. McGhee worked for the Sun-Times from 1989 until 1993, where she interned at the city desk and was an editorial assistant at the features desk. Bullock remembered Mrs. McGhee’s time there being “the happiest time of her life.”
“She loved every single day of it,” Bullock said.
Sun-Times columnist Maudlyne Ihejirika worked on many stories with Mrs. McGhee.
“She was so soft spoken and had a way of getting people to talk to her,” Ihejirika said. “She just always brought heart and feeling to all those stories and to all of her encounters with her sources.”
Mrs. McGhee was born in 1964 and grew up in West Chesterfield on the South Side. She attended Whitney Young Magnet High School and went to the University of Illinois where she received her undergraduate degree in creative writing and English literature, and later earned a master’s degree in journalism.
Wilson recalled how he would often tease Mrs. McGhee for her photographic memory when it came to her knowledge on topics like movies, music and actors. She also enjoyed the show “Jeopardy!” which she watched religiously and knew almost all of the answers.
She lived in Park Manor with her husband, William “Butch” McGhee, who she was married to from 1988 until his death in 2015. The two met in 1986 after seeing each other on the Red Line and getting off at the same stop downtown.
“He swept me off my feet,” Mrs. McGhee said in an obituary for her late husband.
Mrs. McGhee and her husband had a love for animals, and they had two birds and three rabbits.
“She took care of her pets as if they were her children,” Wilson said.
Her brother said she had a wonderful sense of humor, as she would often tell jokes and talk on the phone with him to keep him in good spirits as he would travel to cemeteries for his job as a funeral director.
“She would just always have something funny to say to break up or diffuse any really tense moments,” Wilson said. “That was just part of her personality.”
A memorial service for Mrs. McGhee is planned for 11 a.m. July 23 at A.A. Rayner and Sons Funeral Home, 318 E. 71st St., Chicago.