Regina (Jean) Eileen Smith MacKay of Telford, TN moved to Heaven on Saturday, July 18, 2020.
Jean started her life in Collingdale, PA, daughter of Charles and Margaret Smith. Jean relocated to Parlin, NJ where she lived most of her life with her husband James and children, before moving to Telford, TN 10 years ago. Her love of life is carried on by her 3 sons, 2 daughters, 3 daughter-in-laws, 2 son-in-laws, 13 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, 1 sister, 1 brother-in-law, 1 sister-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews (well, not so many nephews).
Jean taught us many valuable lessons during her 93 years on Earth: Use a lot of salt on everything, never throw away old lipsticks and dried up nail polish. Why? No idea. Say the rosary every time one of the kids or grandkids asks for help, “Oh Lord, what did they get into now”. Knit afghan blankets every winter or every time a new baby is born into the family with the same pattern, different colors.
Go to church with candy in your purse. Give the candy to the children during mass. Invite friends over for drinks and play cards. Dance…often. Never say mean things about anybody; “poor soul, they need our prayers” “And if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.
Go to lunch with friends. Drink coffee…at least a pot, every morning. Read books to the children. Decorate the house for every holiday.
Give to every charity that asks. Believe the best about what they do with your money, no matter what your kids say they discovered online. Smile at everyone and laugh often.
Jean never met a person who she didn’t like...especially grey haired men with beards or a mustache, after her husband passed. “Look how handsome”.
Jean’s life lessons for those of us left behind include giving a cold drink to people coming by the house, sing “You are my Sunshine” to every baby and child, make sure guests have a meal that is edible (remember the salt). Love with your whole heart, forgive all wrongs done. Do not hold a grudge. And when in doubt of what to say….say “Yep, Aye, Yep”.
She is survived by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren: Jim MacKay, wife Dawn MacKay of San Diego, CA, Tom MacKay, partner in life Barbara Haldeman of Murrells Inlet, SC, (children: Tom MacKay and Mike MacKay), Dan MacKay, wife Terri MacKay of Jackson, NJ, (children: Hannah MacKay-Hennessy, husband Chris, James MacKay, Liam MacKay); Peggy MacKay-Davis, husband Ron Davis of Telford, TN, (children Sean Davis, Katie Davis and Michelle Davis), Eileen MacKay-Erdmann, husband Jim Erdmann of Jackson, NJ, (children Kristen Valentino, Bryan Valentino, Jim Erdmann, Dan Erdmann, Kenny Erdmann). Great grandchildren: Gabriel MacKay, Justin Eppley, Noah Kurtz, Ryan Kurtz, Carlee Harvell, Bryson Davis, Brayden Harvell, Blake Davis, Andrew Nye, Austin Nye, Jack Erdmann. Sibling: Peggy Smith- McElwee of Burlington, NJ; brother-in-law and sister in-law Alan MacKay, wife Helen, of Hingham, MA and many nieces, nephews, family and friends too numerous to list but not forgotten.
Jean is reunited with her husband Jim, and many family and friends who have been waiting to welcome her to her new home in Heaven.
The family gives thanks and special appreciation to Jean’s caregivers at Durham-Hensley Nursing Home in Chuckey, TN for the thoughtful, loving care they provided to Jean for the last 4 years. The family also wants to thank Pastor Michael Vaughn from Telford United Methodist Church in Telford, TN for his calming, spiritual messages and being with Jean when she took her final breath.
A Celebration of Life service will be held in New Jersey at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital https://www.stjude.org/give/memorials-and-dedications.html or donate to others in their time of need.