Maurice F. Mackey Jr.

Lawyer Who Was An Accomplished Storyteller And Wrote Short Stories, Plays And A Cookbook For Bachelors

February 02, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Maurice F. Mackey Jr., a retired lawyer who enjoyed writing short stories, fables, poems and even a bachelor's cookbook, died Jan. 26 at his Baldwin home of a brain injury. He was 87.

Mr. Mackey, whose father was an Irish immigrant and a Crown Cork & Seal Co. plant superintendent and whose mother was a first-generation Irish homemaker, was born and raised in East Baltimore.

He attended Loyola High School until 1937, when he entered the Marianist Preparatory School in Beacon, N.Y., to prepare to be a brother, and Mount St. John High School in Dayton, Ohio.

In 1940, he returned to Beacon, N.Y., for a year, leaving the Marianists in 1941. He entered Loyola College in the fall of 1941, where he studied until 1943, when planning to be a diocesan priest, he entered St. Mary's Seminary on Paca Street.

Mr. Mackey left St. Mary's in 1944, and enlisted in the Army where he was nicknamed "The Reverend" by his fellow soldiers, said a daughter, Maureen F. Mackey of Barnesville.

"He described it as quite a culture shock to go from the seminary to the Army," Ms. Mackey said.

He served with the 665th Field Artillery Battalion as fire director in the European Theater, attaining the rank of a technician fourth grade.

After the war, he returned to Loyola College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1947. He then went to work for WBAL-Radio as a writer and then as a court clerk for the old People's Court while attending the University of Baltimore Law School.

Mr. Mackey, who earned his law degree in 1951 and was admitted to the Maryland Bar that same year, specialized in commercial real estate law and litigation.

He later became a partner of the old law firm of Callahan, Calwell and Laudeman, which had offices in Baltimore, Chevy Chase and Severna Park. He retired in the late 1980s.

He was, said family members, an admirer of St. Thomas More, who is the patron saint of lawyers.

Mr. Mackey, who had lived in Baldwin for more than 50 years, had varied interests that he pursued with great vigor and enthusiasm.

"All of his life, he wrote, with some of his writing being published," Ms. Mackey said. "He wrote poetry, short stories, fables and in recent years, a historical play, 'The Conversos,' which was a result of many years of research into the Spanish Inquisition."

Mr. Mackey, who did not use a computer or a typewriter, composed his stories in longhand with a ballpoint pen.

He was also an accomplished storyteller.

"He delighted his grandchildren by writing stories especially for them and other children, and by his ability to tell a story on the spot, weaving in characters and places suggested by them," his daughter said.

A history buff who was especially interested in the Civil War, Mr. Mackey delighted in taking his grandchildren to Gettysburg, where he explained its historical significance in detail while walking over the battlefield.

He was a classical music fan and an accomplished self-taught acoustic and Spanish guitarist.

Mr. Mackey was a supporter of numerous Native American charities including St. Joseph's Indian School in South Dakota.

He was also an active communicant of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Hydes, where he had been a lector, president of the parish council and a member of the cemetery committee. He was also a former president of the Carroll Manor Improvement Association.

Mr. Mackey was an avid walker and when in recent years he required the use of a cane, those who encountered him along the way recalled his jaunty greeting with his walking stick, said family members.

After his wife of 39 years, the former Dorothea Tubman, died in 1992, Mr. Mackey wrote an unpublished cookbook, "Poor (Inept) Cook's Recipes," which he culled from various sources.

In his dedication, he wrote: "In memory of Dorothea, my late wife, who must smile at my efforts, God rest her soul."

"They were all one-pot recipes, which made for less cleanup because he didn't like washing dishes," Ms. Mackey said.

In the front of his cookbook, he had written a number of helpful hints some of which included "Hot pan, Cold oil, Foods won't stick"; "When Making Meatballs, Wet Hands Often With Water"; "Always Use Wooden Spoons/Spatulas in Frying Pans. Metal Scratches Surface And Makes Food Stick"; or to keep apples from turning brown once they're sliced, "Put in Salt Water or Lemon Juice."

"He made old-fashioned pot roast, Palmer House hot crab dip and crab cakes, chicken cacciatore, apple butter steak, rice pudding, maple custard and egg fried bread," Ms. Mackey said. "He was also big on poaching, again because he only used one pan."

Proud of his Irish heritage, Mr. Mackey had traveled to Ireland with a son and two grandsons in 2001 and every St. Patrick's Day recited "How Ireland Got its Name."

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Thursday at his church.

Also surviving are two sons, Sean J. Mackey of Towson and Thomas M. Mackey of Baldwin; two other daughters, Dolly V. Mackey of Timonium and Katharine Mackey Nardone of Baldwin; and five grandsons.

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