Share Your Favorite Memory…

April 20, 2010

All of you who have followed Rich’s journey here on the blog come from far and wide. I’ve come to realize that each of you became a part of Rich’s life at different points in time over the years. That got me thinking about the diverse memories we all must have of Rich, long before ALS touched his life.

If you have a funny or fond memory of Rich that you’d like to share here on the blog, please do. I know Rich would be touched and it would mean the world to our family to read about those special times.

On behalf of the entire Mackney family, thank you for the support you have shown all of us during this difficult time and most importantly for having been a part of Rich’s life. He valued each and every one of you.

Thank you,
~ Liz

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6 Responses to “Share Your Favorite Memory…”

  1. I knew Rich for only one year, but what a year! I think we all recognize how much the time in Angers, France impacted our perspectives and subsequent directions in life.

    So this is my special memory of Rich. First vacation after the pre-stage and before getting into the full meaty school year; we are all headed in small packs to various destinations in Europe. Since Rich and I are not “Domers” we have not yet had the opportunity to fall into the intimate cliques that their boozy cruise on QE2 allowed for. It is natural that we’ll gravitate to one another as “outsiders”.

    The plan – hitchhike to Paris, meet up with a few CIDEFers (that’s right you Domers, you! It was CIDEF, NOT SUNDEF) for vino and street antics and then on to Amsterdam. The road to Paris – gruesome! Rich was incredibly kind and patient as we walked nearly half the 300 K there, I hobbled by big bloody blisters from new hiking boots. He was so big and deep voiced, a good mellow voice, and a true gentleman.

    So much so in fact, that when we finally arrived in Amsterdam – somehow by train – must have woosed out on thumbing it somewhere along the road – Rich was stunned and put off. All those scantily clad ladies in picture windows, unsavory characters peddling this and that, and the underground clubs wafting illicit aromas. This was not Rich Mackney in 1973! He was wholesome and respectful and not taken by the vapid allure of “bohemian culture”.

    Always a solid and stand up kind of guy, he informed me that he intended to leave the very next morning to seek a vacation spot more to his liking. Me? I was enthralled – intoxicated by the very kinkiness he found distasteful. Most amicably, we parted company and, appropriately enough through the year, he joined Les Chevaliers du Pont de Ce, while I embraced clochardism.

    He was the first to come forward with his own SUNDEF book to share with Christian Ollivry after his sister, Helene died. I’m sure Christian returned it to me and I’ve looked everywhere. I will come upon it, with funny warm words from his many close friends scribbled by their fuzzy photos, and I promise I’ll get it back to Ilana, and Keith and Lindsey.

    By spring of 1974, neither Rich nor I were still outsiders, but he was central to many groups and warmly loved by all. We are all richer for having hiked some of this road with Rich Mackney.

  2. Mimi Philbin Carlson said

    Dear Liz:

    I am so sorry for your loss (our loss) of wonderful Rich. I knew Rich as part of the SUNDEF (OK, Muffy, CIDEF) group in Angers. Muffy’s memories made me laugh and cry. I remained in touch with Rich when I attended Thunderbird about six months after Rich. His role with me was as mentor and guide. Much akin to Muffy’s view of him as being incredibly kind and patient and a “true gentleman”. I came to Thunderbird primarily because I had absolutely positively no idea what I wanted to do after graduation and good friends were headed to Thunderbird. Tom (in Phoenix) and Rich were already there. I had a unemployable Arts & Letters degree and was broken-hearted over a typical college romance. Rich was marvelous listener and counselor, providing much needed advice on both classes and life.

    The tributes from Rich’s family and friends during his journey have been amazing and such a reflection of Rich’s spirit. Thank you for sharing his life and his journey with us.

    We will all miss him.

    Mimi (Philbin) Carlson

  3. Rebecca Counihan said

    To the Mackney Family,

    I’m so sorry to hear that Rich has passed and immediately burst into tears upon hearing the news that such a wonderful person has left us too soon. I know the joy, kindness and love he brought to this world will live on in each of the hearts and lives he touched. I met Rich while I was President of the Student government at Thunderbird at the end of 2008. I can’t tell you how many times I doubted myself that trimester as the workload of school and my duties as President seemed enormous and overwhelming. Rich was the constant smile and provided the words of encouragement to make the burden seem light and to reenergize my day. I always looked forward to seeing that grin and energetic hello at every event. We even got “shushed” and got some dirty looks at one event as we couldn’t stop chatting during a presentation. But Rich didn’t care, he wanted to chat! 🙂 He was so excited just to learn about what students were doing on campus and genuinely interested in helping me find my direction and plan for post grad steps that he couldn’t be bothered with another silly ceremony. His passion for life was contagious.

    I am so grateful to have known Rich, even for a brief time, been inspired by his courage and warmed by his gentle ways. Thank you for sharing your husband, father, and friend with us at Tbird. I know it took a huge time commitement on his part to be so involved and I just want to express my gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices he made due to his love of the school and students and the sacrifices you, as his family, made in loaning him to us on so many occasions. You are all in my prayers. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.

    With gratitude,
    Rebecca Justman Counihan ’09

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