John Hugh Mackay Jr

Date of Birth

May 12, 1927

Date of Death

June 23, 2021

Hugh was born in Philadelphia to Edith McCurdy Mackay and John Hugh Mackay Sr, he had two older sisters Jean and Pat who predeceased him. Graduating from Germantown High School in 1945, Hugh was drafted into the Army and worked in the Separation Center at Pine Camp, Upper State New York typing discharges at the end of WW11. After his own discharge in 1947 Hugh attended The Franklyn School for Professional Arts in New York City on the GI bill and lived for a while on North Brother Island, commuting by ferry into the city. The Island was famous for providing the isolation needed for Mary Mallon, otherwise known as ‘Typhoid Mary’. Later Hugh lived with Dr and Mrs Luther Emmet Holt Jr, parents of his friend Arnold Holt. Hugh travelled with the Holts and various friends to Europe in 1950 where he remained after securing a job with the Marshal Plan in Paris. After a wonderful year immersing himself in French culture and language, he was transferred to Rome. There Hugh bought the first of many beloved cars, a Fiat Giardinetta, and explored Europe for another two years before acquiescing to his father, who felt he should return to the US and find a ‘proper job’!

Returning to San Francisco, at first selling Olivetti typewriters, he was eventually hired by Frances Mihailoff and Mike Taylor at their design firm. In time Hugh met Dorothy and Harry Lawenda who had just opened ‘Kneedler-Fauchere’, which eventually became the iconic designer destination for new and legendary collections of luxury fabric, wall coverings, light fixtures, furniture and accessories, and he accepted their offer to manage the new Los Angeles showroom in 1955. Thus began a fulfilling career and great friendship with Dorothy and Harry, as they opened more showrooms in Denver, Portland and Seattle, which Hugh oversaw, eventually taking the title of President of Kneedler-Fauchere. Hugh was affectionately known by his family as ‘The Glue Man’ for keeping everything together at K-F and when he retired in 1995 he was known at home as ‘The Egg Man’ for the perfect poached eggs he made for us every Saturday and Sunday morning. Hugh was meticulous in the way he dressed and in everything he did, and as one of our friends said “Hugh Mackay is a class act and it’s all first”. He was a handsome, creative, thoughtful and very kind man, who was beloved by his family and many others.

Hugh was happy to have moved to Santa Barbara in 1978, commuting to K-F in N Hollywood during the week, finally retiring in 1995 to our wonderful family home in Mission Canyon. He loved listening to classical music especially opera, attending CAMA concerts, plays at The Ensemble Theatre and like his Mother, Hugh had a green thumb, and always enjoyed growing things and he loved animals, especially dogs. He enjoyed welcoming and orienting the many foreign students he and Jill hosted and organized weekly lunches with a group of retired male friends. Every Saturday he could be found at the Farmers’ Market, buying sunflowers. Hugh loved Santa Barbara and he explored all the new construction sites around town, stopping for coffee at his favorite cafe on State Street, watching the passing parade and reading the NY Times.

His wife Jill, daughter Holly, son Patrick, granddaughter Pico, her father Richard and Hugh’s nieces and nephews are mourning his loss, but grateful that he died peacefully with Jill holding his hand. Thank you to Doctors Michael Bordofsky and Eric Trautwein, and to the wonderful staff at Serenity House.

In keeping with Hugh’s wishes, there will be no formal memorial service, but we will have a celebration of his long life at our home in San Roque at a later date. If anyone wishes to honor Hugh please make a donation to The Mental Wellness Centre at 617 Garden Street or to the VNA’s Serenity House at 930 Miramonte Dr.


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