Jim Mackey (sponsored obituary) | TheUnion.com

Jim Mackey (sponsored obituary)

Jim Mackey–

James Harry Mackey died July 7, 2008, at his Nevada City home.

He was born June 13, 1926, to Claude Lee and Emma M. Emery Mackey in

Whittier, California. He graduated from Torrance High School.

After high school, Jim enlisted in the Navy to serve in World War II. Jim

was mainly stationed on Manus Island, which General McArthur used as a

staging area to retake the Philippines. One of Jim’s favorite memories was

attending a Bob Hope USO show and later when some of Bob Hope’s famed USO

show members visited him in the hospital while he was recovering from


Upon returning home from serving his country, Jim was still feeling the

effects of being so ill. It was at this time some friends brought him to

Nevada County for the first time for much-needed rest and relaxation. The

area they chose was Grouse Ridge. Jim truly fell in love with this area and

liked to recall drinking beer and enjoying the beautiful countryside view,

all of which he attributed to helping him regain his health and strength.

After his rest and relaxation in Nevada County, he returned home to Southern

California. One day Jim decided to visit an old friend named George Poh.

George did not answer the door that day, but his baby sister Virginia did,

and Virginia was not quite the baby Jim remembered.The rest is history.

Jim and Virginia were married on April 20 1950. Their marriage lasted 53

years. The early years of their marriage were spent in Southern California.

Jim made a living by being a mechanic and a service station attendant and

then owned his own gas station.

It was during this period that Jim developed a deep love for midget and

sprint car racing. Jim worked on the pit crew for a driver named Volkavitch,

who was killed at the Indy 500. Jim was supposed to be there and would have

if not for the fact his young wife kept him home.

Throughout his entire life Jim maintained a deep passion for auto racing and

would make a yearly trip to Southern California for the special Turkey Night

race held around Thanksgiving. And, of course, you would find him watching

each and every NASCAR race on television and keeping up to date on all the

racing activities on the speed channel.

During the early 1950s Jim still had a longing to return to Nevada County

and make a home here with his wife. In 1952, Jim and Virginia did come to

Nevada City. They built a cabin and Jim tried desperately to make this area

he loved their home. It seemed despite his best efforts, which included

working in a local sawmill and once again being a mechanic and service

station attendant, he was unable to earn enough money to make a living here.

And to compound matters even more, Virginia became ill.

So with no other choice, he took his wife and headed back to Southern

California. Once again Jim found himself a gas station owner and began a

relationship with a new company called U-Haul. This is where Jim really

started to shine, working his way up from the very bottom he showed such

great ingenuity and commitment that soon he would have one of the top two

dealerships in the entire country for many years.

Jim became a good friend of the founder of the U-Haul company. They had many

prosperous years together, and it was only after the death of his friend and

a change in the company ownership that Jim decided he was ready for a

change, also.

The yearning to return to Nevada City was still very strong, even after all

those years of running a very successful business and raising two sons in

Southern California. So it was in 1974 that Jim and Virginia returned, this

time to stay.

It was at this time Jim started his Real Estate career that he was so

renowned for. He had the same drive and determination for Real Estate that

he had shown in his U-Haul dealership. His reputation for being honest and

fair made his business flourish and just two years after he got his

California Real Estate License he took the state test and became a broker.

He opened his own office; his signature color was the U-Haul orange that

represented a bit of his past and a fresh start. Virginia worked by his side

as an agent and later a broker. Although Jim was quite successful in Real

Estate, he did not forget his community. He shared his many talents and

wisdom and thousands of hours with many organizations.

In 1987, Jim was president of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. In 1990,

he was the recipient of the Col. William Lambert Award for Community

Service, presented by the Nevada City Marching Presidents. He was a chamber

director for several years during the 1970s and 1980s. He also was a chamber

volunteer for decades.

He took great pride in the fact he was in charge of the judges reviewing

stand and scoring for all the Fourth of July parades held in Nevada City and

also the judging of the Constitution Day parade. He also served on the

city’s Constitution Commission – the committee charged with organizing the

annual Constitution weekend.

Jim also enjoyed his time at Native Sons meetings and functions and was a

member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Jim was also a dedicated Board of

Realtors association member for over 30 years. Jim sat on MLS, Political

Affairs, Bylaws, Grievance and Finance committees. He served as a BORPAC

Trustee and helped lead the association as a Director, Secretary and Vice


Many believe he was the driving force behind the modernization of the MLS

services. NCAOR acknowledged Jim for his extraordinary dedication by

recognizing him as REALTOR of the Year. In 1982, CAR recognized his

dedicated service by acknowledging him with “Honorary Member for Life”

status. Throughout his life in every-thing he did, Jim always showed

commitment, honesty and loyalty.

Jim will be missed by all those who knew and loved him. He leaves a void

that cannot be filled. He also leaves many wonderful memories and lessons

that he took the time to teach.

Jim is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Doug and Nancy Mackey of

Southern California; son Scott Mackey of Nevada City; and grandsons Nelson,

Michael, Billy and Isaiah. He was preceded in death by daughter Barbara Ann

in 1954, parents Claude Lee and Emma Mackey, brother Claude Lee, and his

beloved wife Virginia Lee Mackey in 2004.

Private graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Forest View

Cemetery on Red Dog Road.

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