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Big Mac/Mac IX Died

Today's obits carry sad news:  BigMac died on July 1, 2011.

A celebration of his life will be held at the Vista Cove Clubhouse from 2-4 p.m., Sunday, July 10.

Cantankerous and funny, BigMac had a zest for life that was contagious.  He was a fellow Liberal-thinking ally.

His expansive knowledge of and joy in music was something he was always happy to share.

He will be missed.

Godspeed, Martin.

If you knew Mart, you know he was a man of large size -- most of that was heart.

He lived to be 74 years-old, but, to listen to his stories; you'd swear he had to have lived twice that long.

During the eight or nine years that I knew him, Mart would stop by our store when he'd be out for a haircut or on his way to the county administration building for one reason or another -- just to say "hello", catch up on politics, rant about the latest bureaucratic blooper, or, shoot the breeze about music.  He really loved to talk about jazz; good thing for me that was one of my favorite topics, too.

I remember when he told me about being selected to serve on the TDC Category II funding panel; he said he gained an appreciation for Ben Rich after Rich made inquiries into Mart's background, experience and motivation to serve on the panel that made decisions on what to do with the bed tax money.  I also remember how he felt at the point he resigned that seat; facing the political infighting that he was convinced would corrupt the entire process.

Mart never sought attention or recognition for his contributions to the arts and he could be very critical of others who he said were only in it for the money.  Mart was motivated by an inner appreciation of many cultures, attitudes, lifestyles and beliefs.  He once reprimanded me for referring to him as "Dr. McKay" in public … he was just "Big Mac".

When the St. Augustine Record hosted the Talk of the Town discussion forums, and, later, on a couple of "free speech" forums after the Talk of the Town shut down, Mart goaded me into participating.  He used to tell me, "If you think you're right, say something about it."  

Then, after I'd make my conservative point-of-view known, he'd knock me down a peg or two with his more liberal-leaning counter-point.  Mart was as mentally astute and capable in debate as anyone I know.  It was all part of my "education" as far as Mart was concerned -- he would argue with St. Peter, but it was never mean-spirited.

During what would be one of his last adventures, he loaded up the mini-van just over a year ago and took off with "best wife" on a coast-to-coast road trip; for Mart, it wasn't about the destination -- he enjoyed traveling the course, seeing friends and meeting new people along the way.

The last years of his life, he spent as primary caretaker for Carol; until his failing health reached a point where he was forced to bring help into their home.  Aided by a walker and scooter-chair; he was chauffer, choir partner, tour guide and dinner date.

Mart lived life on his own terms, which was very clear.  I was fortunate to have known him and to have been one of many beneficiaries of his good humor, sharp wit and selfless dedication to getting the most out of life.

Martin D. McKay, St. Augustine, died July 1, 2011, at the Bailey Family Center for Caring after battling cancer.

He was born June 8, 1937, to Don and Helen McKay of Flint, Mich. He earned music education degrees from Florida Southern University and Eastern Kentucky University.

He taught vocal and instrumental music for more than 25 years in schools in Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky. Between 1968 and 1979, he taught music at Garrard County (Ky.) Schools, directed school theater productions and sponsored educational trips throughout the region.

He was editor of the Bluegrass Music News state music education journal, 1975-77.

After earning a PhD in special education from The Ohio State University, he was coordinator of gifted and talented education for the Cambridge (Ohio) City Schools and later for Guernsey County (Ohio). He greatly enjoyed mentoring. Throughout his life, his mission was to challenge students to be ambitious and to realize their potential.

He finished his career as a faculty consultant for Ohio SchoolNet, in which he facilitated school districts" planning, applying for and using state funds to obtain instructional technology.

He loved jazz and LP records, travel, sailing and the theater. He directed and acted in theatrical productions in Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio. He sang with Carol, his wife, in folk, community and church choirs, including the St. Augustine Community Chorus.

He served on arts panels and was active in St. Augustine"s Romanza planning.
He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Carol McKay; daughter, Katherine (Marc) Levy; and grandson, Aaron Levy of Fredonia, N.Y.; sister, Margaret McKay; and brothers Bruce McKay of Tampa, Fla., and Chester McKay of Hendersonville, N.C.

A celebration of his life will be held at the Vista Cove Clubhouse from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, July 10, 2011.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Community Hospice or Romanza.

Watts Funeral Home, Palatka, is in charge of arrangements.
Published in St. Augustine Record on July 6, 2011 at

Fair winds and following seas, Marty.

We had some fine times; and meeting some of his former gifted students - his and Carol's "children in the world" showed me just how important a giving teacher is.

Sorry to hear of Mac's passing.  My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

auntmartymoo wrote:
Sorry to hear of Mac's passing.  My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

ditto that auntmartymoo.
mac knew his jazz music...and he taught me a lot.


heh heh heh

I had the honor to meet both he and his wife after Bob died.  He spent time looking at all Bob's albums, giving me his wisdom on which ones could be sold on ebay, and what albums were really worth something.  I can't say any more.

I was beginning to wonder about Mac in the last few days but really didn't feel it my place to raise the question.  He had said in PM to me and other that he had been given a time in the range of months.  When we hadn't heard from him in almost a month I was thinking the worst.  

I never agreed with many of his, make that most of his opinions but I respected them.  

His input here always sparked conversation.  That will be missed.  

My condolences to his family and friends in their time of need.

he told me that the doctors said he had until early march.

i wish him well on his final journey.


RIP Big Mac ... sorry we couldn't have one more "red stripe" beer together.

scrutney wrote:
auntmartymoo wrote:
Sorry to hear of Mac's passing.  My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

ditto that auntmartymoo.
mac knew his jazz music...and he taught me a lot.

I met Mac and his wife when they visited me to look at the albums that my husband had collected over the years before he died.  There must have been at least 1,000 in the collection and he could tell me about most of them.  He helped me sell some on ebay.  Great guy.  He will be missed. Forum Index -> In the News Local (St Augustine)
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