Town stunned by death of Jim Mackey |

Town stunned by death of Jim Mackey

Even at age 82, Jim Mackey was running at full throttle on July 4th.

He was supervising parade judges, being interviewed by NCTV about his longtime involvement with the event and then was off to enjoy the rest of his Friday.

“He brought back the judges and he took the awards to the fairgrounds where he was going to listen to the Ophir Prison Band, and later he was going to go dancing at the National,” Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, said Monday.

It turned out Friday was the last day Mackey would participate in one of the many activities that help define him as one of Nevada City’s most beloved figures.

The longtime Realtor was pronounced dead at 12:08 a.m. Monday, shortly after Nevada County sheriff’s deputies were called to his home on Red Dog Road, according to the coroner’s office. Foul play is not suspected.

“It’s hard to get through my mind that Jim will no longer be with us,” said Beryl Robinson, ex-city manager of Nevada City who has known Mackey since 1965. “The community has lost a great citizen. He was just as honest as you can be.”

Mackey’s business partner and son, Scott, threw a party for his dad’s 82nd birthday on June 13 at the National Hotel in downtown Nevada City.

“He had a very enjoyable time,” said Scott, who was reeling on Monday. “He met a nephew he didn’t know he had and everyone was hugging him.”

Jim Mackey owned Mackey Real Estate on Main Street in downtown Nevada City for more than 30 years. He was married for 53 years to Virginia, who died in January 2004 at the age of 72.

Scott, who joined the business several years ago, said the real estate office as well as a new business, Nevada City Mail, will stay open despite his father’s death. Both businesses are on Railroad Avenue in Nevada City.

Mackey was remembered Monday as a community volunteer and a man of integrity. He’s a former chamber of commerce board president who received the chamber’s Elza Kilroy Award for community service in 1990.

“He was very community-oriented. He did a lot for the city and the chamber,” said Tom Coleman, a longtime friend and owner of the National Hotel where Mackey was often seen dancing on weekday and weekend nights.

Mackey’s civic resume included supervising judges for the chamber at Nevada City’s July 4th parades and being a member of the Constitution Day Commission and a fixture at that event’s annual parade as well.

His volunteerism extended to the Nevada County Association of Realtors, which he was involved with for 30 years, according to executive director Kate Hineman.

“The association is only as good as its volunteers, and he was truly committed,” she said.

Mackey served on numerous association committees over the years and in 2005 was named an honorary life member of the California Association of Realtors, Hineman said.

“He was an icon in the real estate world in Nevada County,” said George Grayeb, the former director of the county’s association of Realtors and one of Mackey’s regular poker buddies.

Bob Wilder, a former county supervisor who would later work in Mackey’s real estate office, said it would take some time before he could get over the loss of his friend.

“I considered Jim to be a good friend and when you lose them, you don’t get them back,” he said.

To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail or call 477-4239.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User