Friday, 14 June 2024

John Mackesy

John Mackesy. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — John Mackesy, 78, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Hidden Valley Lake, California, on March 28, 2024, of cancer.

He loved his family and friends and tried mightily to live his best life until the end.

Throughout his illness, John took daily walks. For two of those four years, John was the most frequent user of the local gym.

John was married to Elsie for almost 50 years. He was father to Kimberly and Daniel, whom he himself delivered at home in Anderson Springs, California.

Also known as Rubio, Mr. Twirls and Jackie, John was a colorful character who would often break into a spontaneous dance as a way of spreading joy, love, fun and friendship.

John was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Nellie Christina Mahoney Mackesy and Joseph Mackesy from County Cork, Ireland. He graduated from the Cambridge, Massachusetts schools St. Paul’s, Sacred Heart, and Harvard (1967), where he majored in history.

Religion and history being major aspects of his life, John believed that the greatest commandment is “Love.” He advocated for peace and diplomacy, writing detailed antiwar essays that were published in newspapers around the world.

John worked as an insurance executive after graduating from college and serving in the United States Army. During the time he lived in Lake County, California, John worked as a geothermal roustabout, a rural mail carrier for the United States Postal Service and a tour guide at Beringer Winery.

When not at work in the geothermal fields, John roamed the mountains with his two Irish Setters, Peanut and Saturday.

At home, his favorite pastime was reading bedtime stories to his children. Together he and Kimberly memorized long passages from “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” John read Homer’s “The Odyssey” out loud to Daniel when Daniel was in college. His resonant voice filled the room, animating every character and instilling in his children a love of reading and literature. John’s daughter, Kimberly, grew up to become a writer.

John loved to light up the world with smiles. His mail route served some retirement homes, and when delivering the mail John would make it a point to stop and talk with the elders who would wait for him by their mailboxes. At Christmas time, he brought his family to them door-to-door singing Christmas carols.

At Beringer winery, John charmed tourists from around the world. When he was named Tour Guide of the Year four years in a row, he attributed his success to having kissed the Blarney Stone.

Always devoted to his family and community, John coached children’s sports teams for many years in soccer, T-ball, Little League and Senior League baseball, and basketball. John spent hours pitching baseballs for Danny to hit and playing catch with both kids. He founded the Middletown-Cobb Youth Basketball league in 1988 and ran it for its first two years.

John volunteered in the classrooms of both of his children, and, after they were grown, in the classrooms of his wife, Elsie. He tended to the school garden, which he had raised thousands of dollars in grant money to improve. John’s son, Daniel, grew up to become a plant biologist.

Time spent in the garden led John to appreciate the honeybees. John began photographing the bees and became an internationally recognized award winning bee photographer.

On holidays and special occasions, John was visible wearing his green Leprechaun suit and handing out gold chocolate coins. John took pride in his Irish heritage and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day enthusiastically every year. His favorite sayings included Love is Faster than LightÔ (which he invented), Double Good Luck, and Have a Hap Hap Happy Day.

Music was essential to John’s life. He listened to folk, rock and classical music, and he especially loved traditional Scottish fiddle tunes. An exuberant and appreciative concertgoer, John danced freestyle like no one was watching. At one concert, John a.k.a. Rubio/Mr. Twirls was proclaimed from the stage to be an honorary member of the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers. He sincerely believed that if all people would take the time to really listen to the music, especially music without lyrics as a language barrier, their differences and disagreements would disappear, and the world would know peace.

As an empty nester, John enjoyed swing dancing with his wife, Elsie. He boasted about their opportunities to dance with world champion Lindy Hoppers. They traveled to dance conventions before taking trips to Cape Breton Nova Scotia, Hawaii and other parts of the USA, and Ireland.

John is survived by his beloved wife, Elsie; his daughter, Kimberly Clare (husband Steve) Scheer; his son, Daniel (wife Kathleen) Mackesy; his brother, Joseph (wife Mary deceased) Mackesy; his sisters, Ellen (husband Kenneth) McLaughlin, Patricia (husband Kevin) Morse, and Joan (husband David) Harper; his nephews, Andrew, Joseph, Patrick, Albert and Peter; his nieces, Caitlin, Meaghan, Caroline and Sonia; his 20 great nieces and nephews; his cousins Joe Desmond (wife, Catherine) and Freda Desmond; his brothers-in-law, Albert (wife, Betsy) Zanger and Thomas Zanger.

His brother, James, and James’ wife, Vicki, predeceased him.

Private services are being held and planned. Those who wish to honor his memory may make donations to or veterans for

Finally, his family would like to leave you with one of John’s favorite messages: “Fill your heart with love, fill your mind with light, and send out love in all directions.”

Upcoming Calendar

Flag Day
06.14.2024 8:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Kelseyville High School commencement ceremony
06.15.2024 8:00 am - 06.16.2024 1:00 am
Middletown Days
06.15.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.15.2024 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Middletown Art Center exhibit opening
Father's Day
06.16.2024 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Middletown Days
06.16.2024 9:00 am - 11:30 am
Moose Lodge Father’s Day breakfast
06.18.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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