Wayne Ford Mackey, December 20, 1938~April 21, 2023

Apr 22, 2023

Wayne Ford Mackey passed peacefully Friday morning, April 21st at home surrounded by loved ones. He was born in Rogers, Arkansas on December 20, 1938, son of Edwin (Eddie) Ford Mackey and Naomi Ruth Ivie Mackey (NIM of the Ozarks). The Mackey family moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas, for a few years and then returned to Rogers. After graduating from Rogers High School, he briefly attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO before changing course to work as an engineer in Arkansas laboring on roads in and around Beaver Lake including the bridge on Hwy 12. He always said he tried his best to make the roads as “straight as possible”. Wayne also spent time as an engineer in New York City, having many adventures there. Wayne’s true passion was teaching. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Arkansas. He became a popular, successful, and innovative educator, first teaching in high school, later at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and finally at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He was an active member of AMATYC (American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges). He was an early innovator in the field of math education using computer programming to provide individualized instruction for students. He authored textbooks supplemented with computer programming for major publishers. He worked on establishing a Computer Lab for individualized mathematics learning, emphasizing mastery learning, at Johnson County Community College then designed and implemented a similar Lab at the University of Arkansas as the Director of the Math Resource Center. After his retirement in 2005, Wayne started his own software company for creating etextbooks called IMeT.

Wayne was an adventurous avid fisherman and artist of fly tying. He was a member of Bass Masters of Greater Kansas City for many years, participating in numerous tournaments and winning a Big Bass award. Sitting in a john boat with a flyrod in his hand on the White River in northwest Arkansas was the pinnacle of joy for him. In 1969 he made the White River Leader paper after completing a three day float from Fayetteville to Branson, Mo in a 12 foot flat bottom john boat which he still owns today. Wayne had many fishing buddies and they managed to fish in ponds, lakes, rivers and streams in eleven different states and two foreign countries. He was also an ardent golfer for most of his life playing on many different courses including Pebble Beach. His other happy pastimes included raising his daughter Shannon, gardening with his wife Sherry, reading prodigiously (especially any Nero Wolf novel), and travelling the country with his 2 brothers in search of family history. These family history journeys took him to New York state, western Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and all over the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. Wayne treasured his family and his two younger brothers, and those two brothers treasured and idolized him. He pursued these many activities for as long as he could prior to and after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sherry Foster Mackey; two brothers: Eugene Noah Mackey of Overland Park, KS (Sheryl), and David Ellis Mackey of Little Rock, AR (Cammie); one daughter, Shannon Dee Lewis of Elkins, AR (Mike); two grandchildren: Brittney Lewis of Kirkland, WA, and Brandon Lewis, of Sanford, NC (Tori); a niece Valerie Mackey of Roeland Park, KS; two nephews: Charlie Mackey of Hermosa Beach, CA and Ben Mackey of Rogers, AR.

Many thanks to the wonderful team of Washington Regional Hospice for their care and compassion. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

C.U. at the River.  Let’s go fishing!

14 Condolences

  1. Johnny Jacobs

    Wayne was along time friend. Graduated high school with him and shared many memories.
    Will be missed by all.
    Prayers for all the family

  2. Carroll Schell

    It was sad to learn of Wayne’s passing! He was a wonderful person from the wonderful Mackey family! In reading this nice obituary today, I learned new things about Wayne’s amazing life! My condolences go to Sherry and the entire family and many friends! Wayne will be sorely missed by all those who knew him! When my family moved to W. Poplar Street in 1956, we became part of the Mackey neighborhood … when I was in the 4th grade with my dear friend David, and when Wayne was a stand-out Senior in the class of RHS’57. As a Cub Scout in Pack 122, I was lucky to have Naomi Mackey as my Den Mother! Naomi, the mother of Wayne, Gene, & David was incredibly talented as an Artist, and was a wonderful woman whose home was perfect for our Den Meetings! Her Christmas creations were nice to see during the Holidays! Now, after October 4th, 1957, my interest turned to Amateur Rocketry, building rockets with neighbor & classmate Jim Wilson. We were impressed that Wayne had already built rockets that were more impressive than we could manage! In more recent times, I enjoyed discussing with Wayne his eBooks that he was writing and publishing for new methods of teaching Math topics! I had not realized that Wayne & Sherry have Granddaughter Brittney who is now living in our “neighborhood” of Kirkland (WA)! The Rogers Community (& NWA) was impacted greatly by Eddie & Naomi Mackey … and Wayne has continued to impact many people, far & wide, with his teaching and friendship! Wayne’s Celebration of Life will be a special one! — Carroll (aka “Orv” and C. Schell)

  3. Greenlee

    Sherry. Prayers are with you. Roger always thought so much of Wayne and of course you. Your dad was a neighbor of the Greenlees and got Roger interested in the business

  4. charley brewerr

    wayne was a long time friend we grew up together and went through school together class of 57

  5. Kathryn Murphy

    Gene, Sheryl, David and Cam,
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    May God grant you peace and love in your sorrow.
    Bill & Kathy

  6. John Sampier

    We would careen down the Highway taking us to Roaring River. Wayne and Eddie occupied the front seat of the station wagon, one of them driving. David and I would be tossed back a forth in the rear as we excitedly put our rods together and pondered which fly to use. Wayne was an artist with a fly rod , the river was his canvas. I idolized him and hoped one day I could master a fly rod as he had.
    In “A River Runs Through It” the father describes the youngest son as “a fine fisherman and he was beautiful.” Wayne understood that eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.
    Wayne was a fine fisherman’s and he was beautiful.

  7. Doug Proffer

    I started teaching at Johnson County Community College a year after Wayne did. We immediately connected and started fishing together. I learned a lot from him. You could always count on Wayne to think outside the box, sometimes way out. I was privileged to know him and his family. He will be sorely missed.

  8. Elizabeth Letsch

    Sherry and family. I am so sorry to read of Wayne’s passing. You and the family are in my prayers and thoughts .

  9. Rick Shelton

    What a full, meaningful, and productive life. I’m sorry.

  10. Betsey robinson-harold

    I always did love Wayne. He introduced me to science fiction and I enjoy it even now. I will miss him.

  11. Rodney Carter

    Gene, sorry to hear of your loss. I didn’t know Wayne but to lose a brother is tough on all the family. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  12. John H. Smith (living in Indiana)

    John Ford alerted me to Wayne’s passing. Reading the obituary, I was amazed at all he had accomplished in his field….yet not really surprised at all. Wayne was probably the smartest person in the class of 1957, and I illustrate this by our experiences in the higher mathematics classes for seniors taught by Mr. Measles.

    In these classes were those planning to pursue engineering or sciences in the fall, while Wayne and Andy McCurdy were prepping to enter the service academies. Almost all of us were highly challenged by the load, except Wayne, the most laid-back genius I ever knew. When we had problems, we asked Wayne; he seemed to know it cold from the outset.

    Of course you know full well Wayne’s abilities and his kind personality. I knew he liked to fish, just did not realize how much he loved it.

    I was just one of many teen age boys who enjoyed being around Wayne’s mother, one of the kindest and most talented ladies I ever knew. She had a listening ear. His dad, Eddie,
    sold Edna and I our first house. Rogers lost when they passed.

    With Wayne’s passing I am saddened for your and your family’s loss, and for the loss to the class of 1957, but am so happy I knew him. He was one of a kind.

  13. Sarah Clark

    Sherry, I have been lifting you & your family in prayer as you mourn the loss of Wayne in your lives. He leaves many legacies as reflected in his obituary. He was loved by classmates (Rogers high school 1957). He remained involved with friends & in class activities after graduation. He was well liked, alway interesting & fun. He will be missed.


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