64686: Death of Captain John Mackay

Excerpt from Stornoway Gazette and West Coast Advertiser


February 14, 1919

DEATH OF A VALTOS SEA CAPTAIN – With deep regret, we record the death of Capt. John MacKay, 30 Valtos, on Friday night, 31st ult. His was a useful and promising life cut off in its prime. He was only 47 years of age, but in his comparatively short career he achieved much and that with great distinction. Leaving his native village twenty five years ago, he went to England and for three years was engaged in coastal trading from Liverpool, London and other English ports. Then he joined a ship bound for Australia and on arriving there, he entered the service of the Adelaide Steamship Company. There he so assiduously devoted his time and energy to his several duties that very shortly he came under the cynosure of his employers, and by his diligent applications in the interests of the company he soon commanded their respect, admiration and confidence. They, in turn, encouraged and assisted him in his aspiration and step by step, he ascended the ladder of promotion. In 1911 he received his captain’s certificates. For his efficiency and for the signal and valuable service he rendered his company he was advanced over the heads of officers much older in years and experience. This trust he fully justified. At the commencement of the war he was engaged by the Australian Government in their transport service in this country. Through exposure in different parts of the world he became affected with pulmonary and laryngeal troubles, and in October 1916 he had to leave his ship and come back to his native place to see if he could benefit thereby. However, the disease had taken too firm a root and could not be eradicated. For some time past, he had been confined to his bed, but although his body was ailing and failing, his mind was as active and busy as ever, even to the very last. His was a wonderfully strong personality. His knowledge of men and things was wide and accurate. He was complete master of himself and his profession. He was stern to the wrongdoer, firm and unbending to the recalcitrant, but kind, generous and just to the needy and the deserving. Many would remember with gratitude the ready and liberal assistance he gave and the wise counsel he offered in season and out of season.

See also a letter from his friend R Macdonald.

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