Lyle Mackay Homepage

Family Bio

Lyle Thomas MacKay

 

Lyle Thomas MacKay, the eighth child of Robert & Jane MacKay was born in Perth Road, Ontario, Canada on July 16, 1917. He was named after his paternal uncle, Thomas, who had met a tragic death by drowning just a year before Lyles birth.

When the family imigrated to the United States in 1924 it was necessary to have the ages of the children confirmed. In compiling the list for the Notary Public, Lyles birth-date was recorded as July 16, 1916 (this apparently to make him eligible for the job market a year sooner.) Disregarded, however, was the fact that his sister, Dorothy, had been born on February 11, l9l6 . (creating a five month miracle of sorts!). The incident became an amusing family conversation piece over the years, and the date was never corrected.

Lyle was a fiercely protective older brother to Ralph and Helen. He and Ralph were exceptionally talented athletes, participating as team-mates on several semi-pro basketball and baseball teams. They also competed in Crosscountry marathons. Lyles great passions were beautiful cars and beautiful women, at times in that order. He was an industrious, meticulous person, an avid gardener and a proficient, self-taught carpenter.

He married Alice Smith in March, 1941 and their first child, Roger was born on May 16, 1942. Thomas was born on February 28, 1948. Lyle was employed as a tire builder at the Dunlop Tire Corporation for forty years, retiring in 1975. He served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division from March 1943 to November 1945 during the 2nd World War, and was awarded the Purple Heart. He was active in the Niagara Hose Company, Tonawanda Post #264 of the American Legion, and Occidental Lodge #766 F&AM. He also devoted much time coaching Little League Baseball in the Tonawanda area. Lyle was the second Chieftan of the MacKay Clan from the period of 1977-1980, when ill health forced him to reduce his activities.

His marriage to Alice ended in divorce, and in 1961 he met Janet Stout. He and Janet were married on July 26, 1963, and purchased a home on Mosher Drive in Tonawanda, where Janets two children, Christine and John, and some dogs and cats were lovingly added to his family. With his exceptional carpentry skills, he completely re-modeled the entire house, making it a warm and inviting home. The focal point, however, was their kitchen where family and friends gathered around the table for serious discussions, exchanging comforting words, or just happy chatter with two, always hospitable hosts.

Christine Perkins, his step-daughter, recalls that her mother and Lyle had a deep love and respect for each other, and how he welcomed her and John into his home and life with love. She admired his pride, honesty and the fact that he was always there to advise (although not always with words you wanted to hear, but in retrospect were more right than wrong). Christine describes the Lyle she knew as a warm, compassionate person, and understanding listener, with a delightful sense of humor. Of this sensitive, lovingly remembered individual she says, "They no longer make the mold of Lyle MacKay".

Dorothy claims it was a handsome, lovable, manly, loud and loquacious brother and son the family knew, who faked gruffness to camouflage any suggestion of a "tender" heart. Lyle was often referred to as the "Black Sheep" of the family, because of an inclination to rebel, at times, against the conservative principles of the family. She recalls evidence of this trait displayed at a very tender age. Breaking the solemnity of the family dinner he shouted out a string of obscene words that no one in the family would have ever dared whisper. Giggling from shock by his brazen out-burst, his sisters and brother were equally punished and sent to bed. Another time, rebelling when asked to cease his wild running around the back porch of their old farmhouse, he deliberately kicked over a bucket of scalding "pigs swill" and was severely burned. As a teen-ager, he was the cause of numerous mothers anxiousness, as he wheeled his "caddy" around the streets of Riverside, capturing the hearts of many a fair maiden.

The brother she affectionately chooses to remember, however, was the one, who always when she needed it most, would wrap his strong arms around her in a brotherly "bear hug" and quietly assure her that "things will be O.K." and comforted, feeling serenely safe and protected she knew "things" would be.

Roger admits that inheriting his fathers characteristics of strong will, stubbornness and sensitive pride, too often put a strain on their relationship. He credits his dad with instilling in him and his brother, the drive for perfection in everything they attempted. In sports especially, they both succeeded in not only achieving, but surpassing many goals he set for them. He admired his fathers strength, industriousness and appreciated the scope of auto maintenance knowledge he passed on to him.

In evaluating the legacy of his father, Roger sentimentally stated that the most priceless gift his dad bequeathed him was a kindred respect and appreciation of beauty. With maturity, he realized that it was the beautiful women in his fathers life, and in his, that finally gave them both, the comfort, security and love, they needed to enrich their lives.

Both Janet, and Roger and Toms mother, Alice, died in 1986. Lyle, after a brief illness and surgery passed away on October 7, 1987.