The Lexington Herald Leader reported he died suddenly in New Orleans. His widow, Karen Thomas McNay, is president of that city’s Ursuline Academy, a girls parochial school.
Don reduced his column writing including regular publication in The Huffington Post a few years ago when his mainstay, financial planning, and other businesses demanded more of his time. He continued to write books and appear as an expert on major news broadcasts about his specialty, structured settlements, which involves “helping injury victims and lottery winners handle large sums of money,” according to his website DonMcNay.com.
Earlier this year, Don published his latest book, Brand New Man, in which he chronicled how he had lost more than 100 pounds from a peak weight of 377 through diet changes and gastric sleeve surgery, according to the newspaper.
He continued writing for HuffPo. Of note to NSNC members is his “Newspaper Columnists as Heroes” from 2014. Don was interim NSNC treasurer in 200809, succeeding the late Canadian columnist Lindor Reynolds, who resigned the two year post when her newspaper assigned her a longterm enterprise project.
In addition to his wife, survivors include two daughters, Gena Bigler and Angela Luhys, three stepchildren and three grandchildren. He had earned two master’s degrees and numerous professional honors, certifications and designations, and his columns won several awards, according to his website.
“The National Society of Newspaper Columnists mourns the passing of Don McNay, who epitomized the spirit of the NSNC, not just in his service as a treasurer, but as a member who was always willing to help others. Don’s loss is sudden, but his memory will last,” said NSNC President Jerry Zezima.
One of McNay’s companies, RRP International Publishing and Digital Media, published NSNC ex-President Suzette Martinez Standring’s latest book, The Art of Opinion Writing, and the second edition of her first book, The Art of Column Writing. Negotiations were underway to have The Art of Opinion published in China through the University of Shanghai when he suddenly passed.
Suzette said, “Don McNay lived with joy and purpose. Every comment, post, book, or column he ever wrote was written with the goal to help others. He was a renowned business columnist and structured settlements professional, then he became my friend and later my publisher when he founded RRP International. He was Goodness Personified, always a kind word for all, forever encouraging to others. Surely God turns his face to that kind of beauty, and now he rightfully has wings.”
Don’s obituary can be found HERE, which requests, “In lieu of flowers or other memorials, donations should be made to the McNay Family Scholarship at EKU.” Donations can be made online or via post. Details in the obituary. linked above.