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Published: Friday, 4/16/2004

Educator with dry humor was passionate woodworker

SANDUSKY - Noble "Dave" Mackey, a former industrial-arts instructor and guidance counselor at Sandusky High School who had a passion for woodworking, died Tuesday at the Firelands Regional Medical Center here from heart and lung problems.

Mr. Mackey of Sandusky started working at Sandusky High School in 1950, teaching industrial arts, including auto mechanics, metalworking, and woodshop.

"He had a very dry sense of humor, and the students found him very entertaining," his son, Steve, said. "The students definitely liked him."

Mr. Mackey continued teaching until 1968, when he received a master's degree in guidance and counseling from Kent State University. He then served as director of the guidance department at Sandusky High School until his retirement in 1982.

In addition to overseeing the other four guidance counselors, Mr. Mackey was the main guidance counselor for students majoring in industrial arts. He helped several students find jobs with local companies in mechanics or other specialties.

In 1973, Mr. Mackey was selected as a Martha Holden Jennings scholar, enabling him to attend several seminars given by prominent educators in Ohio.

"It was a recognition that he was a good educator," his son said.

Although Mr. Mackey left the classroom for the guidance office, he never lost his love of mechanical work. He substituted for industrial arts teachers whenever he got the chance and did many crafts in his free time.

Mr. Mackey constructed a small barn in his backyard to store tools, and created clocks and small engines. He also designed, built, and sold numerous pieces of furniture, including a pool table.

"He was hand downs the best cabinetmaker I've ever seen. He was what you'd call a wood artist," his son said. "He made amazing Shaker-style furniture."

Mr. Mackey grew up in Sandusky, where he graduated from high school in 1945. He was drafted into the Army and left for training the day after his graduation. He served in Germany just after World War II, attended the Nuremberg trials, and helped keep the peace in turbulent post-war Germany.

After returning to the United States, he attended Miami University, graduating in 1950 with a double major in industrial arts and education.

Throughout his life, Mr. Mackey enjoyed a series of hobbies in addition to woodworking. He was a competitive rifle shooter for several years, entering contests at Camp Perry and other area shooting ranges. He spent about two years building an electric model railroad set, and also took up photography for a short time, even assembling his own darkroom.

"When he mastered something, he would move on to something else," his son said.

Mr. Mackey was a frequent blood donor to the American Red Cross, a former Boy Scout troop leader, and a member of the Oakland Cemetery board for many years. He belonged to the Sandusky Sailing Club and taught junior sailing classes. He was a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church in Sandusky.

Surviving are his wife, Pauline; son, Steve; daughter, Carla Stookey; brother, Carlton; and two grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today in Grace Episcopal Church. The Groff Funeral Home, Sandusky, is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to the Firelands Chapter of the American Red Cross blood program or the Grace Episcopal Church window-renovation fund.



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