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Ray Walton Mackey, 86, passed away February 23, 2014. As a man of patience, wisdom and passion, he set high standards in the field of pediatric neurology in Tennessee and Texas during his career. He was an extremely compassionate physician, clinician and scholar who assisted children and their families through challenging and incurable lifelong diseases.
Ray was born on Oct. 27, 1927 in Highland Co., Virginia, to David Nelson Mackey and Fanny Armstrong. He is pre-deceased by his six siblings. Growing up in the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, he developed a lifelong love for horses.
Ray was valedictorian at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton, VA in May 1945. At the end of WWII, he served with the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Carson, CO. where he learned to ski; a skill and love that he shared with all his children.
Ray completed his undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1947. He received his medical degree at the University of Rochester in New York and was then accepted for a pediatric neurology residency at the University of Chicago.
Upon completion of his training, the family relocated to Memphis, where Ray accepted a faculty position at the University of Tennessee in 1959. Ray was later recruited as Chief of Pediatric Neurology at the newly established University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1968. Among other appointments, he initiated epilepsy outreach clinics for UT in Central and South Texas and was on the Professional Advisory Committee for San Antonio Epilepsy Association. His academic career included his love of teaching house staff, and he was considered to be an extraordinary diagnostician.
Beyond his professional life, Ray's greatest devotion was to his wife of 56 years, who predeceased him in 2008, and their eight children. He married Helen Bernice Breidenbach in September of 1951 after meeting her at a summer camp in Wisconsin where she was the nurse and he attended the horses. He enjoyed family life whether it was cooking, gardening, sailing, camping and spending time with his children and grandchildren. His personal interests included being an avid reader and horseman.
Ray is survived by his children: Mary, Tim, Claudia, David, Jane, Katherine, Jonathan and Thomas, as well as eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. The family deeply appreciates the care provided by his physicians at UTHSCSA and CTRC, including Sandra Sanchez-Reilly, Anand Karnad, Timothy Tseng. Also, he received outstanding care from Amedisys Hospice and Helping our Seniors.
Friends are invited to a Memorial Mass on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 from 10:00-11:00am, followed by a family visitation from 11:00 to 1:00pm at the Parish Hall at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 8500 Cross Mountain Trail, San Antonio, TX 78255, www.seaschurch.com. A private family burial will take place at 2:00pm in San Antonio, TX. Please visit www.legacy.com/obituaries/sanantonio to leave tributes or condolences in the guest book. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that anyone wishing to send a memorial make a donation to: Univ of Rochester Medical School Class of 1954 Scholarship Fund, 300 East River Rd, Rochester NY 14627 or The Epilepsy Foundation Central & South Texas, www.efcst.org ; 888-606-5353. Burial arrangements provided by FuneralCaring, 6902 NE Loop 410, SAT 78219.
Published in Express-News on Feb. 26, 2014