Friday, July 08, 2011

In Memoriam…John Mackey

I grew up with the Baltimore Colts. My dad was a big fan and regularly attended games at Memorial Stadium in the sixties. The gridiron warriors of that era were larger than life figures to me growing up; Unitas, Marchetti, Shula, Donovan, Moore, Laird, Berry, Curtis…and John Mackey to name a few.

By the time the Colts left Baltimore in 1984 I was five years out of college and working for The Rouse Company. Up until that infamous early morning move on March 29th, I had become the fan my dad was. When the Colts left town I stopped being a fan of the team but not those players who bought football glory to Baltimore.

About eight years ago I ran into John Mackey at the Iron Bridge Wine Company. He was sitting at the bar with his wife wearing a black cowboy hat. At first I was reluctant to approach him but Steve Wecker, one of the owners of Iron Bridge, encouraged me to say hello. I’m glad he did. It turns out that John was more than  happy to be recognized and spend some time with an old fan. John talked of the glory days and showed me his Super Bowl ring and Hall of Fame ring. After we parted and I had returned to my table, he came over and handed me this note.

It was obvious to me back then that he was also suffering from early stages of dementia. This would prove to be a huge challenge for his wife as it worsened.

John Mackey passed away this week. Rest in peace my brother….
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