Thirty years ago, former Miami Herald financial editor Jim Russell opined that when the definitive history of 20th Century Florida business is written, it would have to include the names Flagler, Merrick, Plant, Collins, Fisher, duPont, Ball and Disney.
Those, he wrote, were obvious. One, Russell wrote, must not be overlooked: Mackle.
The three Mackle brothers — Elliott, Robert and Frank Jr. — and their offspring, including Frank III, popularized the idea of Florida living for the Everyday Family in the 1940s and ’50s. They did so through affordable homes and sales techniques. The formula was distinct: Sell a $995 lot for $10 down and $10 a month. Seven or eight years later, when the land was paid for, a basic home was built on the lot for about $13,000. The words “Mackle home” and “Key Biscayne” are practically synonymous.
Into this dynasty, Frank Mackle IV, eldest born to Frank III and his wife Loretta, continued the legacy. Mackle IV operated Mackle Construction Company.
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“I am going to do for him what my father did for me — make him start from the ground up, learning the nuts and bolts of construction,” Mackle III told the Miami Herald in 1988, of his son.
The youngest Mackle learned well. He helped construct homes in Key Biscayne, South Miami, Pinecrest and Miami. Mackle IV, described by family and friends as an avid outdoors and family man, died Feb. 2, at 49, of a suicide.
Born July 12, 1966, in Miami, the Christopher Columbus High School Class of 1984 graduate earned his master’s in business from University of Miami in 1983. His services on Feb. 5, at Church of the Epiphany, drew more than 1,000.
Friend Tadd Schwartz, a local PR executive, posted a message to Mackle cousin Sean McCaughan’s Facebook page: “What a good, honest, hard-working man with a beautiful family and many friends. I am proud to have known him.”
In addition to his parents, Mackle IV is survived by his wife Lisa Guerrero Mackle; daughters Alessandra, Cristina and Francesca; grandmothers Virginia Mackle and Laura McCaughan; sisters Laura Mackle and Virginia Mackle Heck; brothers Thomas, John and Matthew Mackle.