MACKIE, William Ernest

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William Ernest Mackie, 79, of Blacksburg, died October 4, 2006 after an extended illness. He was born August 3, 1927 to Dr. Ernest Lloyd Mackie and Romagna Gallaway Mackie.

A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., he received his Bachelor’s and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and served as Student Body President in 1950.

After service in the United States Navy, he taught British and European history at Virginia Tech from 1959 until his retirement in 1992 as Associate Professor Emeritus. Active at many levels of the university, he served on the University Council, Faculty Senate, and twice as Chair of the Department of History. He introduced and taught a popular course on the Second World War era.

Throughout his career, Dr. Mackie was a strong advocate of innovative undergraduate education and the importance of faculty accessibility to students. In the 1960s and early 1970s many students enjoyed the hospitality and spirited conversation of regular Thursday night “Open House” provided by Bill and his wife, Sally, at their home.

A longtime member of Christ Episcopal Church, he served on the Vestry and for many years sang in the choir. He was a lover and supporter of the arts, particularly symphonic music and opera. He periodically hosted an Opera Theater Program on WUVT, the student-operated radio station at Virginia Tech.

Predeceased by his sister, Anne Mackie Fitzgibbon, Dr. Mackie is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sally Osborne Mackie; two daughters, Christy Mackie of Blacksburg and Linda (Mrs. Malcolm) Griggs of Cincinnati, Ohio; two grandchildren, Mary Beth and Michael Griggs; and his niece, Kathleen Fitzgibbon of Wilmington, N.C.

He will be especially remembered for his kind disposition, his quiet dignity, his wise counsel, and his ability to connect most anything to an appropriate lyric from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. The family wishes to thank the staff of Heritage Hall, and Good Samaritan Hospice for their kind care of Dr. Mackie.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Blacksburg Christ Episcopal Church Campus Ministry. Memorial services will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2006 at 10 a.m. at Christ Episcopal Church with the Rev. B. Lloyd officiating. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.