News NPLS Remembers Pete Macky

NPLS Remembers Pete Macky

NPLS learned this week that Pete Macky - a true colleague and friend had passed away suddently.  Pete retired from NPLS in May 2016 after spending 42 years working as the Managing Attorney at our Sunbury office.  Retirement did not keep Pete away from the clients and staff that he worked with each day.  He continued to serve NPLS as a volunteer.  In fact, he was still available to assist staff from other offices with their unemployment compensation cases.  For NPLS, Pete remained an active member of the Sunbury office.  We are saddened by his loss; but, very grateful for the time he spent working to level the playing field for low-income people who could not afford an attorney to solve their legal issues. We appreciate his dedication, creativity, and sense of humor over the more than four decades that he spent at NPLS. Thank you, Pete.

Please take a moment to read about Pete's life by clicking on the link to his obituary.

Joe DeCristopher - NPLS Staff Attorney at our Sunbury Office - remembered Pete with this tribute.

Since 1979, I have worked as a lawyer for the poor in the legal services office now known as North Penn Legal Services. For all but 1 year of that time, 37 years this month, I have worked in the Sunbury office with Peter Brooks Macky, with whom I graduated from Bucknell in 1970.

Pete was well-liked among the judges and attorneys with whom he worked, and by his clients, for being a pillar of good advice and common sense in the often confusing world of the courts and agencies, After a long and successful, even illustrious, career as an attorney for the poor, Pete announced earlier this year that he would be retiring at the end of May. Even so, he continued teaching pre-law courses to students at Susquehanna, and he continued beyond his retirement date to volunteer his time to "finish out" the cases he had begun, serving his clients directly, and easing the strain on those of us left in the office eventually to carry on without him.

On Wednesday, September 14, shortly after a hearing before a District Judge, he passed away at home, alone, and most unexpectedly. When I got the news that evening, my reaction was shock, sadness and disbelief, a reaction mirrored by those with whom I was called upon to share the most unwelcome news: Pete was an avid bicyclist and hiker, didn't smoke or drink, and watched his diet; he was a loving husband and father; both his parents lived long lives, his father into his 100's. We all expected Pete to have a long and fruitful retirement.

The fundamental work of the legal services lawyer is a lonesome and weighty business, trying to salvage a variety of difficult situations resulting from bad choices, bad luck, or a combination of the two. Our goal is not to change the world, but, case by case, to preserve a piece of fairness and dignity for our clients when things have gone awry.

Despite the loneliness, and despite the heavy weight of responsibility, it is nothing short of extraordinary that Pete came to work, day after day, year after year, for 42 years. In his work he found a comfort zone, and through his persistence, the zone in which he lived and worked extended to those of us around him. In his career, he did much good, I daresay more than most of us do in a lifetime. On one hand, it is excruciatingly sad that his so-called retirement extended for not even four months; on the other hand, in the master plan of things, we must rest content with knowing that he lived through his last day doing what he was so good at doing: he liked what he did, and in so doing, he proceeded with grace and humor, and did uncommonly well in doing what he liked.

A better life would be hard to assemble.

He will be sorely missed.