Donald John Mackey

March 14, 1937October 11, 2018

Donald J. (Don) Mackey passed away Thursday, October 11, 2018 at Maplewood Nursing Home in Westmoreland, NH, after a period of declining health. He was born in Keene on March 14, 1937, the second son of John A. and Yvette E. (Denis) Mackey. His paternal grandparents Juha and Liisa Hirsimaki immigrated from Finland and settled in Fitzwilliam.

Don spent his childhood in Keene, graduating from Keene High School in 1955, where he excelled in baseball. Immediately after graduation, Don enlisted in the Army. After an honorable discharge, Don returned to Keene and in 1958 married his high school sweetheart, Mary C. Bedaw. He soon after was signed by the Kansas City Athletics baseball team as a pitcher. He attended Spring Training in Pensacola, Florida and then returned to New Hampshire and entered Keene State College. He helped put himself through school by working at Keene's Royal Furriers. It was during this time that his and Mary's first child, Scott, was born. Daughter Laurie came along a few years later. In 1962 Don graduated from Keene State College with a teaching degree and went on to receive his Masters in ED. from KSC in 1963. His first teaching job was at Monadnock Regional Middle High School where he taught 8th grade English and coached basketball.

It was his love of horses that brought him, along with Mary and their three children (Mike just a year old), to the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he earned a second Masters in Guidance and Counseling in 1965. Don, along with his brother, Dick, had developed a strong interest in harness horses and spent many years training and racing Standardbreds at Hinsdale Raceway and fairs around New England and Upstate New York. He continued to race horses and won his only race at Hinsdale driving his favorite horse Laura Hill in 1969.

It was through a series of happy accidents in 1966 that led Don to apply for a position at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts in the Admissions Office. His interview with the legendary headmaster Frank L. Boyden, revealed that they shared a great love of horses and baseball and Don secured the job, in part, because Mr. Boyden had horses of his own and with hiring Don, gave him a companion to drive around campus in one of his many antique carriages.

The Mackey family spent four years at Deerfield before moving on to Stoneleigh Burnham School, a private girls' school in Greenfield, MA, where Don had taken the job of Assistant Headmaster and Director of Alumnae Relations. For Don, Stoneleigh was a fitting move because girls could bring their horses from home and board them on campus. Both of these schools gave Don and Mary a wonderful place to raise their children, having access to world-class facilities and a gaggle of ready-made friends.

In 1975, Don moved on to Suffield Academy in Connecticut to become Director of Development and Alumni Relations. He spent 12 years at Suffield, instituting many successful fund-raising events that continue to this day. In 1979 he and Mary bought a home in Florida where Don could play golf during the winter months. His passion for the game led him to build a house on a golf course where the only mode of transportation he needed was his cart to get him to the clubhouse and back home.

It was while at Suffield that Don started a business of promoting antique shows, mainly in Farmington, CT, establishing Don Mackey Shows, Inc. Along with the help of their children and many Suffield students and faculty, he and Mary ran the shows for 10 years before selling the business. After retirement from boarding school life and “show” business, Don and Mary spent their summer days at their home on Spofford Lake and winters on the golf course in Port St. Lucie, FL.

One of Don's greatest loves was traveling with Mary near and far. They visited England and Scotland, where they played golf on some of the world's most famous courses. They also toured many European countries but the most satisfying trips they took were when they loaded up the trusty Suburban and headed to the US Northwest and into British Columbia or pointed the SUV up the Eastern coast into Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, only stopping when the road ran out.

It was during one of these trips that Don learned more about the Inuit people and their stone landmarks called Inukshuks, created for navigation and to mark sacred places or a spot to hide a secret cache. As an avid scavenger of just about everything, Don collected rocks and stones and built several Inukshuks at his lake house with help from his grandkids, as well as building them for many of his friends. Upon returning from their adventures, Don would put together a book with photos and writings of their experiences and send it out for all their family and friends to enjoy.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years Mary B. Mackey of Keene, son Scott R. Mackey and his wife Helen Mackey of Orlando, FL, daughter Laurie M. Wilson and her husband Michael Wilson of Springfield, VT, son Michael D. Mackey of Belmont, MA, granddaughters Maria Mackey, Celia Wilson, Everett Putnam-Mackey and grandson Luke Putnam-Mackey. He also leaves his brother Richard Mackey and his wife Barbara Mackey of Westminster, MA, brother-in-law Barry Bedaw and his partner Bonnie Miner of Spofford and New Smyrna Beach, FL, sister-in-law Ellen Fleming and her husband J. William (Bill) Fleming of Ormond Beach, FL, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

There will be a graveside service on Saturday, November 3 at 11:00 a.m. at Monadnock View Cemetery on Park Ave. in Keene. A reception will follow at the Mackey home in Keene.

For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one's choice.


  • Graveside Service Saturday, November 3, 2018

Donald John Mackey

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Mike Maguire

October 19, 2018

So very sorry to hear the passing of Dick. A good man and a true character.
I recall hearing for the first time "Mackey's rules of golf ", fun and crazy. Dick was always quick with a joke or story. He was such a dear friend of our Dad and came to visit him shortly before his passing. I'm sure they are together now already looking at the spreads for Sunday's games. Our sincerest condolences to The Mackey family.
Best regards, Mike Maguire and Family

Charles Donahue

October 13, 2018

As a tribute to our dear friend Don, we added a bet to our golf matches. It’s called “ a Mackey”.
For any player who holes a putt from 15 feet off the green or longer, the others must pay $5.
I/we miss Don, who truly was one of the good guys— fun loving, a character, a tough competitor, and most importantly, a loyal friend.
Rest In Peace Don.
You will always be with us in spirit.

Charles and Linda Costolo

October 13, 2018

Chuck, Don and I shared a common interest in rocks. With rocks, we built walls, borders, inucksuks, fireplaces, paths, stairs and of course, a throne for a king. One time on his and Mary's trip to Florida, they stopped by our cabin in Georgia. To our surprise, he begins to unload his suburban with all of these rocks he had collected for us. To avoid a mishap, he had strategically placed the rocks to evenly distribute the weight over the car. We have no idea what the weight of those rocks were but can assure you his trip south from the cabin to Florida used significantly less fuel for comparable miles. Don not only told great stories, he was the story. He will be missed.

We send our heartfelt condolences and love to Mary and the family.