St. Louis architect Gene Mackey, FAIA, died after fighting a two-year-long battle with cancer on Nov. 27, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Mackey led a roughly 50-year career in architecture and received several accolades from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), such as being awarded a Gold Honor Award from the local St. Louis chapter of the AIA and was in the AIA's Fellowship program.
The son of prominent St. Louis architect Eugene Mackey Jr., the younger Mackey held a B.Arch. from Washington University and a M.Arch. from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and soon after graduating he joined his father’s firm Murphy & Mackey, founded with partner Joseph Murphy. After his father died in 1968, Mackey opened his own firm in an 800-square-foot office within the Railway Exchange Building in downtown St. Louis. He was 29 when he founded Mackey Mitchell Architects.
At first, the office only carried out small projects, like the Ellisville City Hall offices for a local law firm, planning projects at Washington University’s Medical Center, and some residential additions for friends. Later on, the firm conquered larger projects like the Shapleigh Fountain and the Japanese Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden and Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena.
Among friends, colleagues, and admirers remembering Mackey in the architecture field, Dan Mitchell, FAIA, Gene's longtime business partner and close friend, said, "Gene instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in all of us who had the opportunity to work with him... His perspective helped shape the community we all live in. For me, these extraordinary contributions start with a strong sense of self and the ability to lead others. He drew out the best from all of us. I am a better person today as a result of Gene’s influence. I have lost a mentor, a business partner, but most important, my best friend."
Mackey Mitchell's president, Steve Emer, AIA, said in the firm's press release that he was "so grateful for Gene's mentorship over the past 20 years. He will continue to inspire me and countless others whose lives he touched in such meaningful ways. His encouragement, prodding and exemplary leadership will remain with me always."
AIA St. Louis' president David W. Kehm, AIA, said to ARCHITECT that, "The AIA St. Louis Community lost a giant this week with the passing of Eugene J. Mackey III, FAIA on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2016. Gene was a most accomplished architect, artist, writer and entrepreneur. But more importantly, he was a remarkably generous spirit; always acting in support of the profession, the City of St. Louis, students, graduates and fledgling firms. He was ready to encourage, challenge and bring out the best in all of us. He was smart and kind and passionate and caring. Gene knew that our design must always reflect the best in us and he demanded that excellence in himself and inspired it in everyone around him."