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Former Springfield Mayor N.L. ‘Mac’ McCartney dies at 99

N.L. 'Mac' McCartney, Springfield Mayor 1993-1995
Courtesy City of Springfield
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N.L. 'Mac' McCartney, Springfield Mayor 1993-1995

Former Springfield Mayor N.L. “Mac” McCartney died Friday, the city said in a news release. He served on City Council from 1987 to 1993 and as mayor from 1993 to 1995.

Days before his election as Springfield Mayor in April 1993, supporters of N.L. "Mac" McCartney — including prominent business leaders like Don Wessel and Charlie O'Reilly — lauded him as someone who had "done his homework" and "knows Springfield and how to lead us into the '90s," according to archives of the Springfield News-Leader maintained by the Springfield-Greene County Library.

“On top of all else, Mac was a kind and caring soft-spoken person," current Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said in a written statement on Monday. "He served the community well throughout many decades as a volunteer and businessman. Our heart goes out to his family and we assure them he will be remembered for the positive impact he made on Springfield."

In a city news release, officials noted that one of many acts McCartney performed while serving as mayor was creating Springfield Art Museum Day on Oct. 28, 1994, when dedicating the museum's newly-constructed Jeannette L. Musgrave Wing, which continues to serve museum patrons today.

McCartney spent more than 50 years as a Springfield entrepreneur and community volunteer, news accounts show.

A city news release cited many of McCartney's roles over the years:

He served as president of the Southeast Rotary Club and district governor of Rotary International.

He chaired several Springfield-area boards of directors: City Utilities, American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Town of Missouri, Visiting Nurse Association and Foundation, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation and ARC Foundation.

McCartney served as a board member for the American Public Power Association, Missouri Municipal League and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, among others.

McCartney was also a military veteran recognized by the U.S. and foreign governments for his service. According to a funeral-home obituary, he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge with Star, two Legions of Merit, Seven Bronze Star medals, Three Purple Hearts, and the French and Greek Legions of Honor.

He was active during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, according to the obituary, retiring as a U.S. Army Colonel in 1972.

On Oct. 12, 1923, McCartney was born in Jameson, a tiny Missouri community roughly 80 miles northeast of Kansas City.

He attended the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska, earning a bachelor of science degree from the University of Maryland, a master's in business administration from Syracuse University and a master's in public administration from George Washington University.

McCartney served as an instructor of business management at Missouri State University.

McCartney is survived by his daughter Deborah, of McLean, Virginia; his son, Patrick, and wife, Sharon, of Olathe, Kansas; two grandchildren, Hannah and Rebecca, and many friends and relatives.

McCartney's wife of 65 years, Helen, his daughter Patricia, along with two brothers and a sister died previously, according to the obituary.

A memorial service is planned for spring 2023 at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home, followed by interment at Springfield National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The McCartney Fund for cancer and heart research at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.