Thursday, February 10, 2011
Tribute to Mr. Mackey
My son Andy said it best – “No one loved Marshall Academy more than Mr. Mackey.”
Mackey Rodgers, 70, died Wednesday of last week after suffering a stroke. His funeral service was Saturday.
I still can’t believe I won’t see him at the next school event. He was the face of MA. He will be greatly missed.
His death will leave a void in the lives of my own children and many, many others.
Andy, a junior and a basketball player at MA, made it a point to sit and talk to Mr. Mackey before every one of his games. He was a great encouragement and inspiration to my son. And they always shared loads of smiles and laughs.
“He won’t be there for me to talk to anymore,” a teary-eyed Andy told me Wednesday night.
My son never really knew either of his grandfathers. One was dead when he was born. The other passed away when he was a small child.
I believe Mr. Mackey was Andy’s adopted grandfather – as he was to many at Marshall Academy and beyond.
He loved children, and they loved and respected him. He had a huge heart.
He volunteered his time to coach the young people. He did the announcing at lots of school events. And that’s just a small sampling of Mr. Mackey’s contributions.
Mr. Mackey also had some fire about him. I liked that. He was a disciplinarian and he expected 110 percent effort.
Our children need more mentors like Mr. Mackey.
The Saturday before his sudden death, we pulled into the parking lot of a church in Cordova, Tenn, where my daughter, Erin, and her team had a game in the East Shelby Church Recreation Association (ESCRA) league.
There was Mr. Mackey. He had come to watch the third- and fourth-grade girls play basketball.
The girls led 13-2 at the half but ended up losing the game. They were discouraged afterwards – even some tears.
But there was Mr. Mackey, waiting at the doorway to the gymnasium as they were leaving. He was hugging them and uplifting them with his kind words – like always.
He told me how much he enjoyed seeing the future Lady Patriots.
“What a good group of girls,” he said.
I broke the news to Erin Wednesday night of last week that Mr. Mackey had died.
“I’m so glad he was at our game Saturday,” she said.
I asked Jane Hubbard, headmaster at MA, to give me her thoughts on Mr. Mackey.
“Mr. Mackey Rodgers was one of the first people I met when I came to MA,” she said. “He was such a kind and caring man, always asking how things were going and how could he help.
“I can think of very few events that have taken place at MA – from athletic events, to plays, programs, or banquets that Mackey hasn’t been here to support. I especially remember last Grandparents Day when he came to support his grandchildren and stood in for all those children whose grandparents couldn’t be there.
“He loved MA so much, and has been an ambassador for our school for many, many years. He cared for so many – giving his time, talents, and energy to everyone he could. I miss him already. This is such a sad day for all MA students, past and present.”
Mr. Mackey left a great legacy – and it’s all about caring for others.
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