Robert Edmund (Mac) McCloskey, whose favorite saying was, “Every day is a holiday,” passed away peacefully on March 5, 2018.
Mac was born Oct. 2, 1938 in Elkton, M.D. to Edmund and Edith McCloskey. He attended schools in his hometown and graduated from Elkton High School in 1956. Following high school graduation, Mac attended Wesley Junior College in Dover, Del. and continued his studies at the University of Baltimore. Uncle Sam came calling, and Mac was drafted into the Army in 1962.
Mac reported to Fort Jackson, N.C. for basic training. He applied for and was chosen for Special Forces. He completed Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, N.C. Mac says his proudest moment was when he received the coveted Green Beret. While serving with the 7th Special Forces at Fort Bragg, Mac was selected for Officers Candidate School. Upon completing OCS, Mac was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery.
In 1966, Mac married the former Ellen Shelton of Little Rock, Ark. Although the marriage ended in divorce, Mac was blessed with two beautiful daughters, Susan Burkett and Patricia Blick, and three wonderful grandchildren: Paul and Patrick Burkett and Annie Blick.
After his first assignment, Mac received orders to report to Vietnam, where he served with the 5th Special Forces from 1966 to 1967. While in Vietnam, Mac was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.
Mac returned from Vietnam and served the Army in a myriad of staff and command assignments in Korea, Germany and the United States. Mac loved the Army and said one of the best things the Army did for him was to send him back to college at the University of Nebraska where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Once he earned his degree, Mac became an R.O.T.C. professor at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. His last assignment before retiring was serving as field artillery representative at Fort Belvoir, Va. Engineering Center, where he retired as captain.
A lifelong golf enthusiast, Mac decided to attend the San Diego Golf Academy when he left the military. He received a degree in golf course management and planned to work in the golf industry. However, upon further reflection, Mac realized that, “A golf professional will have to put up with people like me!” That didn’t sound like much fun to Mac, and he decided a change in career paths was in order.
Mac said the best thing that happened to him in San Diego was meeting Josephine “Jo” Worman, the woman Mac called “the love of my life.” They married and moved to Delaware where Mac went to work for AAA Mid-Atlantic. Mac served as a manager and filled other positions with the company before retiring in 2001.
In 2003, Mac and Jo came to Whidbey Island for a visit. The island cast its spell, and they fell in love with Whidbey. They moved to the island with the intention of remaining and rapidly became involved in the community. Mac was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church and served on the Church Council.
He also volunteered with Trinity’s homeless outreach in Seattle and with Island County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children) for several years. He worked hard as a volunteer and was thrilled when one of the children on his case load was permanently adopted by a wonderful family.
Mac had a soft spot for neglected canines as well as the homeless and neglected children, and he and Jo adopted an Airedale Terrier from an animal rescue organization. Succa, their Airedale, became a much loved fixture on the south end of Whidbey Island, and Mac became involved in animal rescue.
Mac is survived by his beloved wife Josephine; his daughters and sons-in-law Susan and Joe Burkett and Patricia and David Blick; and grandchildren Paul and Patrick Burkett and Annie Blick. He is also survived by his extended family Cynthia Bellinger, Ron and Sally Worman, their daughters Annie and Kalie and Emily Riley and great grandson Samuel.
A celebration of Mac’s life will be held at 2 p.m., on Wednesday, March 28 at Trinity Lutheran Church. In lieu of flowers, Mac requests remembrances be sent to Enso House and WhidbeyHealth Hospice.