Audrey Mackiewicz, veterans advocate and longtime Register editor, dies at 84

SANDUSKY Audrey Mackiewicz didn't invent working hard -- but she lived as though she had.
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Audrey Mackiewicz didn't invent working hard -- but she lived as though she had.

Newspaper clippings from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s shows she won tons of awards and honors in her lifetime.

Grainy photographs show her shaking hands with then-presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. In a third picture, she sits next to then-commander-in-chief Gerald Ford.

She interviewed all three as well as George H. W. Bush when he was in office. Locally, Mackiewicz was a star of the newsprint.

Mackiewicz, 84, of Sandusky died Friday night of complications from surgery.

She had battled with breast cancer since the 1970s, but recovered twice. She was being treated for a third bout with the disease.

"She was a real strong-willed person. She was on the Huron school board for eight years, and when EHOVE was getting started, she helped with that," said her son, Curt Mackiewicz. "She was big into Booster and one of the first Girl Scouts leaders in Huron. ... She was also (was really proud) of her work with the historical society and the city. She liked her hometown."

Charles "Butch" Wagner was sports editor of the Register for 34 years and worked with Mackiewicz for much of that time.

"Audrey Mackiewicz touched the lives of so many people," Wagner said Saturday. "She was not only a very good reporter but a woman who served her country and never forgot those who followed suit."

She grew up on her family's fruit farm in Huron Township. A pioneer in a different sense, Mackiewicz's great-great grandfather was one of the first people to settle in this area.

Her accomplishments span decades. She had more awards than places to put them.

A 1942 graduate of Sandusky High School, Mackiewicz then enlisted with the Coast Guard SPARS and worked in New York. During World War II, she helped servicemen return home from dangerous and foreign lands.

Returning to this area within a few years, she immediately started making her mark. She also fell in love and married the man of her dreams -- William Mackiewicz. He died several years ago.

In 1973, she was named Woman of the Year in Huron and became the first woman to serve on the Erie County Soldiers Relief Commission.

In 1977 she became the first woman veteran appointed to the Erie County Veterans Service Commission. The same year, she was responsible for re-establishing the bi-monthly farm newspaper the Firelands Farmer.

Readers of the Sandusky Register were well acquainted with Mackiewicz. Her wit and wisdom shone through the articles and columns she wrote for the paper during her 22 years with the publication. She was the special features editor and columnist.

She would become the first female member of the International Association of Newspaper Farm Editors.

In 1988, she became the first woman veteran appointed to the Ohio Veterans Home Board of Trustees. For her work, 10 years later, she was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame.

Trying to convey all Mackiewicz did for her community and her gender would take a book to do properly, family members said.

Imagine trying to fit it all into a single article.