Shirley Mackey was several times a regional champion roller speed skater who attended nationals many years, her daughter Teresa Whelpley said.
First competing in 1979, Mackey continued to skate for fun until ten years ago, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“She was a fighter, strong and courageous,” Whelpley said. “She raised my brother Greg and I herself while working as a waitress at Teibels for 20 years. Teibels actually let her serve in the dining room one day on her roller skates.”
Mackey, 59, of Lowell, was an awesome mom. Her daughter said.
“She raised us to be the people we are now,” Whelpley said.
Mackey ran ten miles at night with her son while her daughter followed on her bike.
“She made growing up and being a kid okay,” Whelpley said. “There wasn’t pressure. It was just be a kid.”
Mackey, who played Bunco with her sister, was known for “telling it like it is.”
Mackey would say, “If you ask me a question, I am going to tell you the truth.”
Her passion was gardening, both inside and out.
“She loved to be outside and definitely had a green thumb,” Whelpley said. “She bought garden tools for her great granddaughter to teach her how to garden. In the spring, she couldn’t wait to get her out to play in the dirt.”
Mackey graduated from Sawyer Business College and worked in downtown Chicago.
Later, she decided to enter the medical field becoming a surgical instrument technician.
A Lowell High School graduate, Mackey, who played the flute and clarinet, was the first female drum major for the school, Whelpley said.
Whelpley said her mom will be greatly missed.
“The hardest thing is just not being able to call her and tell her good news or bad news,” Whelpley said.