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Obituaries: John C. Mackney

John C. Mackney

John C. Mackney, a decorated WWII veteran and lifelong champion of health care for veterans, died peacefully on Feb. 25, 2011 surrounded by family in Billings, MT. 

Joe was born in East Hills (Roslyn) on the Clarence Mackney Estate where his dad was a dairyman. For years, the family maintained a vegetable, fruit and dairy farm on 12 acres. The land today is part of Norgate on the southside of Harbor Hill Rd.

Joe and six siblings were the children of Polish immigrants who came to America as teenagers. The Mackney farm was known as “Ziota Gora,” a name coined by the Polish immigrants in the little hamlet of East Hills, formerly known as “Red Ground.” “Ziota Gora in Polish means “Gold Hill.”

During WWII, Captain Joe Mackney, a decorated medical officer, was in charge of setting up field hospitals in France, from which he had a calling to devote his life to veterans who served their country in time of need.

As a director of various V.A. hospitals during a 36-year career with the Veterans Administration, he managed in Miles City, MT, Clarksburg, WV, Providence, RI, St. Louis, MO, Asheville, NC, and Tuskegee, AL.

In addition to his wife, Dorothy of 67 years, he is survived by his brother Stanley (Maria) of Westbury; his daughters, Suzanne Nybo (Jim) of Helena, MT, and Jolie of St. Louis, MO; son Ronald S. (Shirley) of Billings, MT; two grandsons, Thomas Nybo of Atlanta, GA, and Scott of Billings, MT; one granddaughter Kristin Jo of Billings, MT; and two great-grandsons, Caden and Conor.

Memorials can be sent to the Montana Rescue Mission, 2822 Minnesota Ave., Billings, MT 59101.