HIS MOTHER - THERESA AGNES ROCHE MACKLE

theresa50s.JPG (16875 bytes)

Theresa Agnes Mackle

My grandmother Theresa Mackle is difficult for me to write about. She was know as "Gommy" to her grandchildren and my earliest memories are of an old lady living in a apartment filled with antiques. When I was old enough to relate to her in the late forties or early fifties she was already in her mid sixties. She had been a widow for eight or ten years and was very disconnected - it seemed to me - from the family. 

Nevertheless my Dad - and his brothers - loved her dearly. Every weekend or two Dad would take me to visit her in her Coral Gables apartment ... and I dreaded it. The apartment was filled with antiques including a giant stuffed doll with - I was told - "human hair. Gommy would sit in a "throne" like chair in the center of her 19th century living room and carry on a conversation with Dad. I was maybe six or seven and I would sit quietly waiting for it to be over with.

The only other regular contact with her came when she would be invited to our house for dinner. Again we had to be on our best behavior and the whole visit was one we "had" as a duty. There seemed to be little or no affection in her from my young perspective.

Gommy would also visit on Christmas. In the summer she would visit in New Jersey, staying for a week or more at the Essex and Sussex, again a 19th century wood framed sea-side hotel in Spring Lake. But again other than an occasional dinner with her there was very little interaction with my sister or me.

When I think about it there were really very few other contacts and no real involvement with the family. 

There were sisters of Theresa from Massachusetts who visited when I was very young - Aunt Catherine and Aunt Julia. They were in their 80's or 90's and were said to have raised their much younger sister, Theresa. There was also a Paul Sullivan, a relative of Theresa’s who worked with the brothers for a time but who was usually the butt of one joke or another.

Later in life Theresa moved in to the Key Biscayne Hotel where she basically dominated the staff and manager until her death.

Her sons, idolized her. She visited them at the office on a regular basis. Occasionally they would take her to the race track. A large portrait of her was the centerpiece of their office and later Dad’s office until his death.

Dad had many stories about his father but I never really heard much about his mother or her role. Obviously she experienced the same successes and failures of her husband Frank. And presumably she was a great factor in the development of the character and the talents of her sons. Certainly she was responsible for their Irish Catholic upbringing. Frank Senior, although descended from Irish-Catholic stock - had not been raised as a Catholic. Her "Proper Bostonian" attitude must have had a great influence on their self image. The combination of the strong-willed, self confident, resourceful Frank and the Irish Catholic Theresa gave the Mackle boys a solid upbringing.

In my fathers case - as will be seen - the family’s economic travails would have a significant effect on his formation as well.

From my genealogy research, Theresa was born July 1, 1885 the youngest of seven children - six daughters and one son. Her father was John Roach and her mother was born Mary J. Brown. 

Theresa was born and raised in Quincy, Massachusetts.

It was said that she was raised by her older sisters so I assume her parents passed away at a relatively young age.

On January 5, 1908, she and Frank Mackle were wed.

Apparently in Theresa’s generation the name Roach was changed to Roche.