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Obituary: Arnold L. (Mack) Mackley

Arnold L. (Mack) Mackley
Provided Photo
Arnold L. (Mack)

Mackley

September 15, 1932 – May 27, 2021

On Thursday night, May 27, 2021, Jesus called Arnold Lyle (Mack) Mackley to his heavenly home after a brave battle with cancer. After talking to his family and his grandchildren in the morning, he said he wanted to lie down in his own bed. Over the phone he heard Scripture from two of his dearest family friends saying that Jesus has “prepared a place” for him, and he said that he was “ready to go”. He slept most of the day and his family was able to be with him and comfort him. Then after dinner his wife, Darleen, said she was ready to go to bed. She snuggled up with him and said her prayers and nodded off to sleep. Minutes later one of his daughters went in to check on him. Mack had waited for Darleen to lay down with him and hold his hand, before he took his last breath and they went to sleep together like they had for the past 62 years. Wiley, his faithful dog, was right there, by his side, like he always was.

We would like to thank all of you for your prayers. We know he touched so many lives and thought of everyone as a friend. Each of you know who you are, you are the ones that brought a smile to his face, said something that tickled him and made him laugh, worked beside him or played a part in one of his many adventures; you are the ones left with an indelible mark on your lives with your story of him. As much as we’ll all miss the place in our lives that he filled, we rejoice in knowing that today he is in paradise with his Lord and Savior, in no pain and with a healthy body once again surrounded by his family and many friends who preceded him.

Arnold (Mack) Mackley was born on September 15, 1932 in Clifton, Colorado to Walter and Agnes Mackley. He had one brother, James (Jimmy) W. Mackley who is survived by his wife, Myrlis (Fowler) Mackley. He graduated from Central High School and attended Mesa Junior College. He joined the Navy in 1954 and served on Adak Island, Alaska. Upon being discharged, he became employed by Stearns-Roger at the Union Oil Shale project on Parachute Creek. It was there that he met the love of his life, Darleen Bernklau. They were married on June 29, 1958 on the Bernklau ranch. It was on that day, that he gained a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Paul and Carla Bernklau.

The couple traveled with Stearns-Roger and lived in sixteen towns in seven states on construction/mining jobs across the western United States. Their journeys even took them to Beersheva, Israel. Upon returning to the states, they moved to Denver and eventually back to Rifle where they purchased the Bernklau family ranch. Mack worked in the capacity of a Western Division Controller for Cleveland Cliffs Inc., then at Schmueser and Associates, RMF Minerals, Ameralia and at AMSO, LLC – American Shale Oil where he finally retired at the age of 84. He continued his ranching responsibilities, still driving the feed truck this winter. It was what made him and his dog happy and kept him going all these years. His children, Craig and Dianne, made sure that when he looked out his window, he could still see black cows on his green fields. Mack served as a Garfield County Commissioner for two four-year terms from 1988-1996. He was honored to work with his fellow commissioners, Marian Smith and Buckey Arbaney. He was also on the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Board and appointed to the Colorado State Racing Commission.

His pride in all of his children left him without words, Darla Mackley, Dianne Mackley Boe and Craig Boe, and Ryan and Katie Potter Mackley. Mack loved the families of his in-laws, Sam and Terri Potter, and Norm and Connie Boe. His favorite times were family gatherings and celebrations. He loved laughter and fun.

The joy of Mack’s life were his grandchildren. He was in the grandstands of every football game, basketball game, award assemblies and of course, dance recitals. “Papa” could not have been any prouder of Ethan Edward (19), Gracelyn (Gracie) Rose (15), Adelynne (Addy) Mireille (11) and “honorary” granddaughter Lauren Pearl Potter-Turner (D’Angelo). Papa will be greatly missed by them all.

Uncle “Mack” or “Arnold” loved all of his nieces and nephews and their families. And he also “adopted” so many others as his heart was big enough for all.

Mack was a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Rifle, Colorado. He supported the Garfield County Fair for most of his later life. He was also a member of the Holy Cross Cattleman’s Association for all of his ranching years.

In lieu of a funeral service and flowers Mack would have liked all of us to “pay it forward”.

He loved and supported Emmanuel’s Youth Group. He prayed for seeds planted and faith growing in the lives of young Christian students. (Donations can be made to “Emmanuel Lutheran Church Youth Group” c/o Darla Mackley – PO Box 347 Rifle, CO 81650.)

Being a Veteran and having a love for his Country and those who also love, serve and protect it, he respected the “Tunnels to Towers” organization, which honors Disabled Veterans & First Responders. (Donations can be made at “The Tunnels to Towers Foundation” – 2361 Hylan Blvd. Staten Island, NY 10306 – http://www.t2t.org).

Another local foundation providing wilderness therapy for vets, is Huts for Vets(www.hutsforvets.org)

He also had a love for his small town community and always wanted to see it thrive. He supported the “New Ute Theatre Society” Rifle’s Event Center – PO Box 84 Rifle, CO 81650 (www.utetheatre.com).

If there is another charity your heart supports then please pay it forward in memory of Mack.

Not only near the end, but during his life, Mack had the most caring and passionate doctors and nurses. They all personally and professionally advised and attended to him as if he was their own father. They extended his life here on earth. Our family could have not asked for more, and we thank them all for each part they played. Through it all Mack would like to remind us, not to cry, that he knew where he was going… and just as Darleen said when she kissed him the last time, “this is not goodbye…I will see you again”.


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