Cover photo for John Mackay 's Obituary
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1951 John 2023

John Mackay

May 22, 1951 — October 12, 2023

John Graham MacKay


John's wife, siblings, relatives, and many, many friends lost a wonderfully kind, loving, and funny man to an aggressive cancer on October 12, 2023. He was amazingly brave during this very difficult illness and never lost his wit.


John was born May 22, 1951 in Ashton, Idaho to Glen William MacKay and Dorothy Joan Irving MacKay. He spent his childhood growing up with his parents, his maternal grandmother, Estelle Phillips, and his brother and two sisters in Island Park, Idaho. His grandmother Estelle and step grandfather, Harry Phillips, purchased Happy Joe's in Island Park in the 1940's. About 1945 they renamed it Phillips Lodge. Glen and Dorothy moved up to join the Phillips in 1950 with their 2 older children to help run the lodge. John, the 3rd child, joined the family at Phillip' Lodge in May 1951, and it was his home throughout his childhood. The whole, beautiful outdoors of Island Park was a wonderful playground for John and his siblings. They had many longtime friends who were regular vacationers to Island Park. He and Karen spent many wonderful weekends and holidays there until Glen and Dorothy's retirement in the mid 1990's.


John made the 30-mile bus trip down the Ashton Hill to school in Ashton every day from 1st through 12th grade and back home every afternoon. He graduated from North Fremont High School in 1969, where he was the student body president and co-captain of the football team.


In the fall of 1969, he started college at Idaho State University in Pocatello. He returned to Island Park for the next 3 summers where he worked for the Forest Service. In the fall of 1971, he met Karen Kruse, a freshman from Boulder, Colorado. In the summer of 1973, they both decided to stay in Pocatello, which became their home for most of the next 50 years.


John started as a meter reader for Idaho Power in 1974. He went on to become a residential representative and then a commercial representative for major accounts in Pocatello. In 1991, John and Karen moved to Nyssa, Oregon where John was the district manager for the Idaho Power office in Nyssa. This move came just as Idaho Power began reorganizing and started closing the offices in the small towns. John then went to the Twin Falls office as a major accounts representative in 1996 and 5 years later returned to Pocatello to finish his Idaho Power career. He retired in 2009.


Beginning in the summer of 1973, John played on the Me-n-Ed's slow pitch softball team where he and Karen made a number of life-long friends. They have had periodic reunions with these friends in the years since, the last one in July of this year. A few years later John joined the newly formed local rugby team where he played until 1991. Reunions with these many friends have occurred over the years since. Upon retirement, John began to take several trips a year with these rugby friends, the most recent in June of 2023.


John has been an active member of many community service groups beginning in his early Idaho Power days and continuing until a few months before his death. He was a member and past president of the Bannock Civitan Club, Bengal Athletic Boosters, and Leadership Pocatello. He served on the Portneuf Greenway Foundation and Special Olympics of Idaho boards of directors. He was a current Pocatello Chief and since retirement has been a volunteer at the Idaho Food Bank and member and volunteer of the Pocatello NAACP.


John was preceded in death by his parents, all his grandparents, his brother-in-law Al Stillman, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is survived by his wife Karen K. MacKay-Pocatello, his siblings Glen Douglas (Maurine) MacKay- Sugar City, ID, JoAnne MacKay Stillman-McCall, ID, and Lorraine MacKay (Dan) Panks-Idaho Falls, ID. As well as an aunt, Ione McBride, and a number of cousins.


Donations may be made to the Idaho Foodbank, Idaho State University, or a charity of your choice.


A Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, November 6, 2023 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Juniper Hills Country Club, 6600 Bannock Highway, Pocatello, Idaho.


Memories and condolences may be shared with the family under the "Tribute Wall" tab above.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Mackay , please visit our flower store.

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Monday, November 6, 2023

1:00 - 4:00 pm (Mountain time)

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