Kenneth Hugh McCracken
July 24, 1950 – September 9, 2019
Kenneth Hugh McCracken, 69 of Wilmington died on Monday, September 9, 2019. He was born in Charlotte on July 24, 1950 to George Paul McCracken and Thelma Barton McCracken, whom preceded him in death.
He is survived by his wife Cindy McCracken, daughters; Jessica McCracken, Roxanne McCracken, sons; Paul McCracken, Josh McCracken, sister Pat McCutcheon and husband Hugh, brothers; Gary McCracken, Steve McCracken and wife Diane, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and many dear friends.
Kenny was a boat builder by trade. He wanted to build boats even as a child. He was a talented musician and song writer. Kenny Mac played in several bands around Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, and Wilmington. He loved watching football, NASCAR racing, fishing, woodworking, sitting on the beach watching the ocean, and playing cornhole with his family. Kenny has many wonderful friends who have been a part of his life for many years. Words cannot describe how very much he will be missed by his loving family.
The Memorial Service will be held 12pm on Friday, September 13, 2019 at Coble Ward-Smith Funeral & Cremation Services. A visitation will be held one hour prior. The family would like to invite everyone to a reception following the service.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice.
Memories and condolences may be left for the family at www.coblewardsmithwilmington.com
- Visitation Friday, September 13, 2019
- Memorial Service Friday, September 13, 2019
- Reception Friday, September 13, 2019
Kenneth Hugh McCracken
September 14, 2019
fly bridge and dashboard on a big Uniflite. The years I worked closely with Kenny allowed me to appreciate some personal things about him as well, his indomitable nature, his unquestionable expertise and yet with a most endearing humility and of course his terrific sense of humor and unforgettable laugh, as he quipped something about “two brain cells”, my “Frankin-crane” or the “Perfect combination of Albert Einstein and Fred Sanford”. I came to consider Kenny one of my best friends, to a man who was everyone’s best friend.
At Bradley Creek Marina in the 1970’s we worked outdoors sometimes in the midwinter off-season building new docks down on the water. Working alone away from everyone else on some freezing winter days, we would come back up to the office at break time or lunch to get a cup of coffee and find all the other employees sitting obviously warm inside and joking, “Where have you been?”
Decades later in the late 90’s, Kenny and I worked together again. He and I appropriately did large fiberglass jobs, spray painting and other things we were very experienced at but ironically without full time professional marine mechanics we were the only employees with the experience to align engine and propeller shafts. And so Kenny and I, in our late 40’s, spent many hours crawling around in tight spaces, wrestling with 4000 pound diesel engines and large heavy tools, diligently and professionally pursuing machinist accuracy.
No matter how cold it was or how uncomfortable we were as we might have to move obstructions in the engine room or correct factory installation errors Kenny would never complain or dodge, but instead would share any difficult task. Although I was never as personally well rounded as Kenny with his music and other passions in his personal life, I will always regret not being able to sustain or improve the working relationship I had with him in the early 2000’s.
September 14, 2019
to take a mold off of it, I was talking to Kenny more and more in our regular jobs. He was always friendly but, from different parts of the shop I didn’t see him regularly, and with both of us working all the time I sometimes boiled over with questions, my way of learning, understanding the sometimes mysterious or guarded explanations of my more experienced partner. One day I mentioned the final paint my partner planned to use to finish spray my boat with, prior to waxing it up for taking off a fiberglass mold. Kenny simply said, “You can’t use Acrylic Enamel because the gel coat will attack and alligator it”. Well of course Kenny was right, my partner was angrily defiant, sprayed it anyway when I wasn’t there and even worse, sprayed gel coat over it and ignoring the huge alligations everywhere, also laid up fiberglass which stuck to my wooden boat and cracked a plank. It was one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever seen in my 43 years of boat building and repairs ever since.
I have worked with Kenny six or eight times over our 40 years or so and he was always the best resource, the best worker by which I mean several things; the hardest, never complaining worker, the highest quality work and the most professional attitude about whatever we did together. I know Kenny’s proudest stints were as manager at the large fiberglass boatbuilding companies in the Wilmington area, Carver Yachts, Rampage and Southport Yachts but I never worked at those places. I had a more solitary and un-glamorous career most of the time, but periodically needed Kenny’s expertise and was pleased to work with him again whenever he was available. I learned a tremendous amount from him over the years. Although I became very experienced at many types of large repair projects, I never had any question about Kenny being the one to direct any large fiberglass repair or construction project, from a 16 square foot Hurricane Fran hole in a damaged Hatteras to designing and building an entirely new
September 14, 2019
Everyone knew him as Kenny Mac. He worked in the back of the Wilmington boatbuilding shop where I was first hired in early 1976. There were about 50 employees there and he worked in a different department, the mysterious, sticky and smelly fiberglass department, where it would take me a decade or two to fully appreciate how valuable he was to that company. Don’t get me wrong I learned a lot rather quickly about Kenny Mac’s experience and knowledge, and the reason I was slow to learn was because I was so ignorant about fiberglass. I also got an important insight into Kenny’s kind and patient temperament one day that we were working nearby in that shop. I was working up on the mezzanine level, installing trim on a boat’s deck something like 9 feet above the lower concrete floor. That shop used empty 55 gallon steel barrels for trash cans and as some of us were pushing on our boat to move it sideways a little bit, I was leaning way over, stretching back one leg for purchase, when with a mighty push my foot was on a piece of wood which slipped and pushed against a nearly full 200 pound steel barrel which went over the edge of the mezzanine, crashing below onto a deck right beside where Kenny was working. I was so ashamed and apologetic, asked if he was all-right and he just said, “I’m fine” and picked the barrel up off the boat, cleaned up and got back to work. He later dismissed my further apology by telling me that the night before that he had been, as a volunteer fireman, working a fire inside the old movie theater at Carolina Beach, where steel beams had come crashing down around him. So a little old barrel was nothing.
Being overly optimistic and passionate about the dream of building my own cruising sailboat, the most knowledgeable other person on my crew and I worked up a plan for just the two of us to build our own 36 foot fiberglass sailboat hulls in a rented shop space. As we were lofting the full size lines and bringing in my own smaller day-sailer sailboat
September 13, 2019
Ken was one of the sweetest people I know. He always had that sweet smile on his face. He learned carpentry from my father when he was growing up for a time in Matthews, N. C. Tho we didn't see each other very often after we grew up, I loved him like a brother. He will be missed.
September 12, 2019
Kenny, you were the best gift my brother Jeff ever gave me. I will always remember the music and the memories we share. You have been a quiet and still guiding light for those around you; loving, laughing, creating and "knowing". My family and I have been so blessed to have you in our lives. We are richer for our experience of you, your gifts of song, and your example of living a day to day spiritual life. Thank you, Kenny for all you have given! I will miss your earthly presence! Jackie
September 12, 2019
Cindy & Family,
The last time I saw Ken was at Pat & Hugh's wedding 37 years ago.
The first time I saw him he was sitting high upon a stool beating the
fire out of a set of drums like he was calling in the cavalry! He had
a crop of blonde hair that fell across his shy eyes and an infectious
warm smile. He was so talented and I enjoy his CD's. The songs that
God gave him to write are amazing. I can only imagine the joy he felt as he rose up stepping on the clouds, slipping past the moon and
stars to meet first, "The Real Son-Rise", then his mom and dad, and his old friend, Johnny! Ken, don't worry about "your sweet sister".
Hugh and I will take good care of her and she will be ok. You are
where we all want to be someday. So, I'll be seeing you there and
every time it rains...
September 11, 2019
I not begin to say how much I miss you. You were such a wonderful father to me. You always said you adopted me a long time ago and you sure did. Thank you for giving me Paul to share the rest of my life with and thank you for loving my mom and making her the happiest woman on this planet. I am so proud of the man that you were.I will see you again some day, until then please know I love you with all of my heart.
September 10, 2019
Ken was a wonderful brother for 69 years. He was an amazing friend for the same length of time. He was so loving and caring. He loved his family above all things. I can remember when he wanted to play drums. He would go out and find buckets and put them on the floor and go in search of sticks. Thus began his dream of becoming a drummer. He became the best that I ever saw. I can remember when he joined his first band and played "Wipe Out" on his drums. He was an absolute hit. He played those drums to this tune, and he got so wrapped up in his playing that he fell backwards off of his seat. It was a wonderful sight to behold. I will always have that vision in my head and heart.
As he got older he went on to play other instruments. There was nothing he couldn't play; Nothing. Then he went on to write his own music, and then his own songs. He had the most wonderful voice. To this day, I will put on his music and listen to him. He never believed he was that good, but I never missed an opportunity to tell him that he really had a gift from God. He was so very talented.
I will miss him more than I can even imagine. He was my very best friend. He loved me every day of my life. He never got angry at me, and he never stopped smiling and calling me "my sweet sister." He was my hero.
Rest in peace Kenny Mac and be sure and take your pick of one of those Heavenly instruments made of gold in Heaven. They are so very lucky to have you.
I love you " my sweet brother."
September 10, 2019
"Third Avenue," a song written by Mac is full of memories we shared.