WINTER HARBOR — Bruce A. Mackay, 94, passed from this life peacefully at home with his family on Sept. 5, 2014. He was born Dec. 30, 1919, the son of Lillian (Bateman) and Joseph Mackay.
The youngest of nine children, he grew up on Newman Street in Winter Harbor and attended Winter Harbor schools until he was a junior in high school when his family moved to Ellsworth for the winter months and he attended Ellsworth High School. He graduated from EHS in 1937. He excelled at basketball and baseball in high school and loved the team play. He was always ready for “pick up” games with his brothers and friends. In Winter Harbor, the empty corner lot served as a fine baseball field and Hammond Hall was where he played many a “half court” game of basketball. In years to come he would be a member of college and Navy teams and active with his sons’ sports, coaching their Little League and Connie Mack baseball teams.
He went on to attend the University of Maine, Orono, where in addition to his sports he was a member of the Phi Eta Kappa fraternity. After two years, he transferred to what is now Husson University. He studied business and met the love of his life, Margaret O’Connell from Bangor. They were to have 59 loving years together. They married in 1940 and he was recruited by the U.S. Treasury Department, moving them to Washington, D.C. This was the first of many moves in his career. As a veteran of World War II, he served in the Navy for three years as a physical fitness instructor to our country’s fighter pilots. The war ended, and for the next 30 years he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as an electronics engineer. He and his team were responsible for developing and monitoring airport radar systems. His career with FAA took him and his growing family to New York, Oklahoma, Hawaii and Massachusetts. He retired from FAA in 1975 and he and Margaret moved to Winter Harbor. They loved being back in Maine. Way too young to truly retire, he began a second career in town management. For 15 years he pursued this civic career as town manager in Winter Harbor, Gouldsboro, Eastport and Buckfield. He believed one should always be involved with community government and activities. In Winter Harbor, he was president of the Channing Chapel Committee, served on the Planning Board, was a member of the committee that helped to govern WH’s senior citizens housing out of Cherryfield, he served on the RC&D Committee, and he was a past member of the Hancock County Planning Committee.
Bruce was an interesting man with many friends and pastimes. He hunted and collected abandoned logo golf balls at the golf course. Auctions, yard sales and antique shops were frequent stops when he went out for a ride. Although he lived on the coast he did not have a boat, nor did he fish. Instead he collected carved shore birds and decoys. He was a handy man, renovating each house in which he lived. Family and friends, young and old, were very important to him. Meal time was always a social time for him. Dinner parties at home, at a friend’s or at local restaurants filled his calendar. He especially enjoyed spending time with his two local nieces, Johanna Smith and Sandy Drinkwater and her husband, Peter. He was very grateful to have some of his late brother, Hugh’s family so near. Breakfast at Chase’s and five holes of “Geezer” golf every day with his buddies (you know who you are!) made him very happy. He loved you guys…and gals! Then it was off to his yard and garden to plant his many trees and flowers or just to weed. He found peace in his gardening and nature in general. Nothing pleased him more then to beach comb the shore, to watch the surf and gulls at Schoodic Point or to trek through the Grindstone woods seeking out the most perfect sunset at the end of the day.
He loved to have his out-of-state children visit often, Bruce Mackay Jr. of St Louis, Mo., Mark Mackay and life partner, Marybeth Carney, of Framingham, Mass., Barbara (Mackay) Campbell and husband, Michael, of Newburyport, Mass., Scott Mackay and wife, Arline, of Rutland, Mass. Spending time with grandchildren, Brooks Mackay, Catherine (Campbell) Dartnell and husband, Eric, Brandon Mackay; and great-grandson, Camden Dartnell gave him so much joy and he said they kept him young. Two days before he passed, he was watching 2-year-old Camden play and he said, “I hope he will grow up to be a very old man.”
Thus Bruce’s motto,”Life goes on.”
Friends are invited to join the family at a reception on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hammond Hall, 427 Main St., Winter Harbor. Gifts in Bruce’s memory may be made to the Sumner High School Athletic Department, Attn: Lucille Null, 2456 US Hwy 1, Sullivan, ME 04664. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.