Morris L. “Mr. Mac” McCollum, age 90, passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 12:58 a.m. at his home in Fife, WA surrounded by his loving family and longtime friend and caregiver, Phyliss Satterwhite. He had suffered from a blood clot in his left arm. His beloved dog, Maxie, was at his side when he passed.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Sunday, August 20, 2017, at the Emerald Queen Events and Conference Center, 5700 Pacific Highway in Fife, WA, from 2:00-5:00 PM. People are invited to wear any apparel they acquired from Mr. Mac Ltd to the celebration service. Pastors Anthony Steele and Gregory Christopher will officiate. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Tacoma Athletic Commission, PO Box 11304, Tacoma, WA 98411 or to a charity of your choice in the name of Morris McCollum. Inurnment will be at Aurora Cemetery at Aurora, Nebraska by Higby-McQuiston Mortuary.
OBITUARY: Morris L. “Mr. Mac” McCollum
Morris was born in Denver, CO on April 27, 1927 and lived with his mother, half brother, Earl Jr. and stepfather, Earl on James McCollum’s farm in Jackson, Iowa until his stepfather’s death in 1935. He and his mother, and half brother, Earl Jr. moved back to his mother’s childhood home of Aurora, Nebraska where they lived with his maternal grandmother, Lettie Lindstrom Hedlund. After his 1945 graduation from Aurora High School, in July, Morris enlisted in the Navy and served in the Pacific on the ship USS Golden City in World War II. Afterwards, he attended Nebraska Wesleyan College in Lincoln, Nebraska for a few years, leaving for a career in retail.
His mother, Mildred continued to work in retail clothing sales most of her long life and provided inspiration for both Morris and Earl Jr. to get involved in that field. Morris initially worked in women’s retail in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Illinois. Recruited by Johnny Haas to run his General Store, Morris moved west to Tacoma in 1957. After two years he went to work for Bernie Brotman and opened Mac the Knife in Seattle, followed by a Mac the Knife store at 1130 Broadway in Tacoma. Eventually, he sold both stores and in 1977 established his own signature high fashion men’s store on the Hilltop called Mr. Mac Ltd. where he has been active for forty years.
His Hilltop business leadership began with the K Street Boosters Club, then the Upper Tacoma Business District, and later the Hilltop Business Association. His generous engagement with the community was significant and lasted throughout his career. He was an active member of the Tacoma Athletic Commission, serving as its President in 1978. He loved promoting golf tournaments, boxing and working with young people.
He received numerous awards throughout his career, including two keys to the city of Tacoma. In 2014 his high school in Aurora, Nebraska placed him in their Hall of Fame. In 2015 he received the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, and that same year the Hilltop Hero Award. In 2016 he was honored by all the people who worked for him at Mac the Knife in Seattle. He is remembered for his business savvy, compassion and generosity. His former and current employees regard him as “family” and describe him as someone who took them “under his wing.” He valued optimism, staying power and beneficial community leadership. He loved his family, friends and employees dearly. He will be profoundly missed.
Morris was preceded in death by his mother, Mildred Hedlund McCollum Russell in 1995, his beloved partner of 35 years, Patricia Macaluso in 2012, and his step brother, Earl Jr. in 2014.
He is survived by his stepson Jeff Macaluso and his wife Laura, Pamela Macaluso and her husband, Chris McCormick, and Brian Macaluso and his wife Maria. His deceased brother Earl’s children Nathan, Neal and Nelson McCollum also survive him.