|Billy and Suzy Vessels
||Billy was the 1952 Heisman Trophy
winner from Oklahoma. Billy joined the Mackles shortly after
Bill Vessels - Dad - Bill O'Dowd
He was friend to VIPs the world over and served as a special
aid to Dad on matters of Corporate Relations.
He was always dedicated to the Mackles but his dedication rose
to the level of heroism during the Barbara Mackle kidnapping.
|Bill and Sherry ODowd
||Bill joined up in the early fifties and
worked with Dad and his brothers until the late seventies. He was
the first to join them in their new venture after they parted
with General Development. He was also a long time golfing partner at Riviera Country Club.
|Jim and Marie Vensel
Head of Engineering and Architecture at
both General Development and Deltona. Personally designed all of
the Mackle Brother's communities from the mid 1950s to the mid
1970s. Jim was a perfectionist excelling in hobbies of archery and
Dad - Robert - Jim Vensel
|Neil and Ann Bahr
Neil was the architect of the franchise
and branch office network and all of the other innovations that
made the installment land sales business and the international
sale of Florida real estate so successful. Neil started in the
Cleveland office and left there in the late 1950s to head up
the General Development Sales and Marketing department. He was
with Dad longer than anyone. Dad thought so much of him that he
often introduced Neil as "the fourth Mackle Brother"
Neil was still actively
involved with Deltona when we left the company in 1986 and
remained a member of the Board of Directors for a number of years
after our departure.
Dad - Robert - Neil Bahr
|Harvey and Liz Elwood
||In the early 50's Harvey and another
electrician were working for an electrical contractor who abandoned his contract
with the Mackles and left Harvey and his fellow employees stranded. Dad put
Harvey in business with a personal loan.
Harvey repaid them by the outstanding product and life-long
friendship that he gave back for the rest of his life.
Harvey had a great sense of humor. He was especially fond of
golf and fishing and enjoyed competing at both.
|Herb and Emily Savage
Herb Savage, Jim Vensel and Wives
Herb was Chief Architect for Deltona and designer of the Marco Beach
||Real Estate Man extraordinaire, Armer
was involved in many of the land purchases made by the Mackles
over the years.
||Jack was one of those rare individuals
with outstanding talent and an extremely high energy level to go
along with it. Jack was a successful Tallahassee attorney skilled
in the law as well as State politics. His avocations included
scuba diving and balloon racing.
||It was said that Morris Salomon wrote
or influenced most of the real estate law in the State of Florida
over the first two thirds of the twentieth century. His
involvement with the Mackles began in the late 30s or early 40s
soon after Frank Mackle Senior brought his family to the state.
Morris was not only an outstanding attorney but was one of the
fiercest negotiators that I ever knew. His counsel and
representation of the Mackle Brothers was a significant reason for
their success over the years.
|Jim and Eileen McCaughan
|| Jim was
working for IDS handling mortgages for them in the early 1950s. IDS moved in other directions
and their Florida office was closed or being phased out. The Mackles had
been thinking about getting in to the mortgage business on their own.
Instead Dad agreed to let Jim continue to handle them under McCaughan
Jim and Eileen became close friends and often vacationed - at
the Key Biscayne Hotel and elsewhere - in the 1950s and 1960s
||Bill was the one long time bank
relationship who remained a friend through good times and bad.
He was already a senior officer at First National Bank of Miami
in the fall of 1969 when Barbara Mackle was kidnapped. Bill Allen
or the book, 98 Hour Til Dawn, both tell the story better than I
can. But it was Bill who was called on late in the day and was
asked to lend the $500,000 ransom money to the Mackle Brothers on
the spur of the moment and on their personal signature. For Bill
that was the easy part. The hard part was organizing his staff to
amass that amount of money in $20 bills and locate a suitcase of
the size demanded and deliver it by dawn the next morning. As I
understand it, Bill and his associates stayed all night to
accomplish that task.
As the years went on and First National became Southeast Bank,
Bill, advancing in his own career, still stayed close to the
Mackle family and when the difficult times came after the permit
denials, Bill personally intervened with our New York and Boston
bankers to buy us time to work our problems out.
If only all bankers had the values and integrity that Bill
||Legendary golf professional
||Nearly as legendary golf professional
||Peter was financial advisor to Norman Winston when original
Deltona venture was put together with C,K.P. Peter was a member of the Deltona
Board for many years. Peter and Dad hit it off immediately and were
close friends for the rest of their lives. When Dad was in New
York, Peter was always a breakfast guest at the Plaza Hotel -
especially when important bank or new venture business was being
|Don and Kay McNeil
||Don was an early promoter of Deltona
Lakes and brought his nationally syndicated radio show - the Breakfast
Club - to Deltona on its first anniversary. A close friendship
with Dad and Mom developed. They loved Marco Island and vacationed
there for many years. Their son Tom, an attorney, was later a
member of the Board and another son - Father Don - founder of
Notre Dames Center for Social Concerns - were also close to the
|Legendary Notre Dame football coach and
owner of a second home on Marco Island. Frequently part of
Frank Mackle Jr. - Gene Sarazen golf outings
|Dr. Ed Lauth
and Dobbie Lauth
|Doctor Lauth was one of the many
friends who put their lives on hold to help during the Barbara
Mackle kidnapping, attending to Robert and Jane though the ordeal.
Ed and Dobbie were close family friends for many years.
|Ed and Peggy McHale
|Close friends for many years. Ed was
the owner of McHale Funeral Homes and - as is often the case with
funeral directors - had a marvelous sense of humor.
|One of the early pioneers of Key
Biscayne and a close friend and family physician.
Dad's first contacts with Fred Hooper came at the
racetrack and at LaGorce Country Club in the late 40s.
Fred was a successful heavy equipment contractor during
and after the war and a director of Florida Canada and General
By the time that they were in business together the friendship
had became even closer.
Fred had already lived a fascinating life.
One of my most cherished memories - growing up - were golf
outings in the summer at
Spring Lake Country Club with Dad and Fred Hooper and Eddie Blind the
"starter" at Monmouth Park Race Track. Eddie Blind was another character and Eddie and Fred had
some serious money riding on their summer long golf competition. Dad
and I enjoyed watching their match and listening to their stories!
Fred Hooper was an
incredible guy in his own right. He had worked his way up from ranch hand
to school teacher to a heavy equipment man to horse owner. After a round
of golf we would sit in the men's locker room and he would tell the stories of his life
|The time he was bitten by a snake and his horse ran away and he
took days walking back to civilization with his hand swollen by
the snake bite
|The story about the first horse he ever purchased who went on to
win the 1945 Kentucky Derby
|The fabled match race between his horse Olympia and the best
Quarter Horse in the country who was owned b some Texans. He stood
in the saddling ring at old Tropical Park waving cash in the air
taking all wagers.......Olympia won ..... and he offered to give
the Texans a rematch against an unknown filly in his barn wh
...Fred assured us ... had beaten Olympia at a quarter of a mile
in morning trials..... The Texans had had enough and declined the
|His story - written up in Believe-It-Or-Not - of calling a
and many more.
Mr. Hooper passed away in 2000 at the age of 102. He was
active in horse racing to the end.