James V. Mackell "was a familiar sight, on the hard sand, at low tide," running on the beach at Stone Harbor, N.J., his son Thomas said.
Dr. Mackell was a quarter-miler in high school and college, but on the sands he usually ran about three miles.
Every day. Into his 90s.
"I ran with him 20 years ago," Thomas Mackell said, "and he blew my doors in." Thomas was in his 40s at that time, his father in his 70s.
On Saturday, May 3, Dr. Mackell, 94, of Stone Harbor, former chairman of the pediatrics department at Holy Redeemer Hospital in Meadowbrook, died at Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House.
"I'm an orthopedic surgeon," Thomas Mackell said, "and I'm amazed at the health of his knees. I know what to look for," as runners' knees sometimes deteriorate.
"I used to joke to him - 'Did you ever see a runner who's having fun?'
"He would shake his head. 'Absolutely. It's marvelous. It's work like any other work. You feel good doing it.' "
At Northeast Catholic High School, from which he graduated in 1938, Dr. Mackell was cocaptain of the track and field team, his son said.
With track and academic scholarships, he earned a bachelor's degree in biology at St. Joseph's University in 1943.
At Jefferson Medical College, from which he graduated in 1946, he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the medical honor society.
Dr. Mackell was called to active military duty and served at an Army hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, his son said.
He was appointed to the medical staff at Holy Redeemer in December 1958. In the 1960s, he was president of the medical staff there and a founding member of its pediatric department, of which he was chairman for 26 years.
From the 1960s into the 1980s, he was a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College.
At the same time, he maintained a private practice near Oxford Circle. "I went with him on house calls," his son said, "when I was a little kid."
He retired in 1989, his son said.
While he was president of the medical alumni association at St. Joseph's in the late 1960s, students made him an honorary member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta premedical honor society for helping to establish a student loan fund.
At St. Paul Church in Stone Harbor, he was a trustee and president of its parish council. A trustee of the Stone Harbor Property Owners Association, he was a member of the American Legion.
Besides his son, Dr. Mackell is survived by his wife of 72 years, Rosemary; son James V. Jr.; daughters Rosemary O'Mara, Sally Ott, Margaret Mary Vanarsdall, and Jane Hoy; 31 grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A visitation was set from 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 9, at St. Paul Church, 9910 Third Ave., Stone Harbor, before an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass there, with interment in Resurrection Cemetery, Clermont, N.J.
Donations may be sent to www.connect.jefferson.edu/makeagift.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.radzieta.com.