Jack Macy ’64 wasn’t long out of SCU when he was charged with helping to assure that in the event of a major earthquake, the Transbay Tube on the bottom of San Francisco Bay would not fail—and the BART cars wouldn’t hit the sides. When the Loma Prieta earthquake struck in 1989, he was living and working in Santa Rosa and elated that the tube withstood the shock. The engineer wrote years later, “It is still a good feeling to know that, even with our somewhat primitive tools and unproven theory, we had done the job right.”
Jack would study a client’s concept for a public works or development project and in little time size up what it would take to get it built. Over the course of his 40-year career, he contributed much to planning and development issues and projects throughout Sonoma County. Highlights included his role in plans for developing Windsor prior to its incorporation as a town in 1992, and the engineering he did for large-scale residential developments such as Lakewood Hills in Windsor, Country Club Estates in Petaluma, and the Parkside project in Santa Rosa. In contrast to the stereotypical view of an engineer, Jack also loved people and placed great emphasis on personal communication.
Born in San Mateo in 1942, he was attending Serra Catholic High School when he met the former Jacky Musetti. The two dated while Jack was a civil engineering student, marrying in 1964. Shortly after he earned his degree, Jack accepted a job and went to work on the plans for BART’s under-bay tunnel. He wrote in his biographical pamphlet that a few years later he and Jacky had two children and “were outgrowing our 900-square-foot starter home and found prices in San Mateo beyond our reach.” After searching the Bay Area for a job and an affordable home, he accepted a position as project engineer on a major water-system project for the city of Sebastopol. The family settled in Santa Rosa in 1968. Three years later, Jack moved to the Santa Rosa engineering firm of Mitchell and Heryford, later becoming a partner and ultimately the owner. In 1996, he and Carlile merged their firms to create Carlile Macy. Carlile said they made a good team. “I was slower, deliberate. He was quick to get an answer, so it was perfect.” Deeply involved in the community, Jack served on the advisory panel to the county General Plan and on the Santa Rosa Design Review Board and the county Transportation Authority Citizens’ Advisory Committee. He was active with the Prince Memorial Greenway Project, Sonoma County Citizens for Traffic Relief, North Coast Builders Exchange, Sonoma County Alliance, Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Catholic Charities, the Lions Club, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, and other organizations.
After he and Carlile sold their business and retired in 2004, Jack dedicated more time to traveling with Jacky in their recreational vehicle, enjoying his children and grandchildren and expanding his garden railroad. He said once, “My greatest pride in life is our family. If I am only remembered as a good engineer, I have done a poor job in the other areas of my life.” Jack, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only four months ago, died Aug. 2. He was 75. In addition to his wife in Santa Rosa and his daughter in Orange County, he is survived by daughter Michelle Lenney of Windsor, son Greg Macy of Santa Rosa, sister Cathy Macy of Sonoma, and by eight grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.