THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Dad was a solid Catholic attending Mass on Sunday and living up to the standards of the Catholic church.

He always said that his four years at Vanderbilt University in Nashville was where he learned to defend his faith. Nashville Tennessee - especially in those days - has always been a stronghold for Southern Baptists. At Vanderbilt and in the fraternity house religion was freely debated. Dad was frequently the only Catholic in a group of Baptists taking the side of the Roman Catholic church on the religious and moral issues of the day.

His mother, Theresa, was the foundation for his Catholicism. She was a proper Irish Bostonian. His father, while from Irish Catholic stock, had not been raised in the Faith but converted as a result of Theresa.

Dad and Bishop Coleman Carroll working on national Serra Club Convention
Notre Dame
Dad receives Doctorate from Notre Dame

Early in his adult life Dad was close to Monsignor William Barry, pastor of St. Patricks Church on Miami Beach. He and Virginia were married by Monsignor Barry. My mother, who also converted to Catholicism was instructed in her new faith by the Monsignor. Monsignor Barry was an institution in the Florida Church. He had been a priest in Florida since the turn of the century and told stories of carrying the gospel and communion by horseback from Jacksonville to the Keys.

Nancy and I were educated at Catholic elementary schools - St. Patricks, Archbishop Curley High School and Carollton Academy. I attended Notre Dame and Nancy went to Boston College although she eventually graduated from the University of Miami.

Dad's involvement with the Archdiocese of Miami and his support of and position as a Trustee of Notre Dame were two commitments he had to further the work of the Church.

He was a founding member of the Serra Club. The Serra Club was formed after the establishment of the Miami Archdioces in the early 1960s and brought together Miami leaders dedicated to the furtherance of the Church in South Florida.

As President of the Serra Club he was Chairman of the national meeting of Christians and Jews on Miami Beach. 

Dad served on the Board of Trustees of The University of Notre Dame for many years and became a close friend of Father Hesburgh, Father Joyce, Jim Frick, Jim Gibbons and others connected with the University. While not a graduate of Notre Dame, Dad became an ardent fan of Fighting Irish football and was active in supporting the work of the Board, often hosting the Board and it's executive committee at the Key Biscayne Hotel. He was honored by the university with a honorary doctorate degree.

In the 1980s V.J. Scutt, president of Mutual of Omaha asked Dad to assist in the selection and negotiation for a site for a Mutual of Omaha office building on Brickel Avenue in Miami. Apparently they appreciated his input because when the deal was concluded V.J. insisted that Mutual pay Dad a fee for his services. When he refused it, V.J. asked if there was some charity that they could donate the money to in his name. As a result Dad established the Dependent Children's Foundation - later changed to the Mackle Foundation - to help young people. For the first few years Boys Town of Florida was the recipient of annual contributions. Later the University of Notre Dame was a primary beneficiary of the Mackle Foundation.

Dad's estate included a bequest to the University. Three University Funds were established supporting Scholarships for Priests in Training, Notre Dame's Institute for Church Life and Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns. At the end of 1999 the three Funds were valued at $2,372,000.