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Douglas W. “Chip” MacKelcan, Jr.

Aug 10, 2012

Douglas W. “Chip” MacKelcan, Jr., 63, of Sanibel, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on Monday, July 30, 2012, after a courageous struggle with Multiple Systems Atrophy.

Chip grew up in Wilmington, Del., and graduated from the Tower Hill School in 1967, where he was a member of the baseball, basketball and cross country teams. He earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Hobart College and baffled opposing hitters with his knuckle-curve as a pitcher on the baseball team. Chip also obtained a Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University.

Chip’s career in education began at Oak Grove-Coburn School in Vassalboro, Me., and continued in Grosse Pointe, Mich., at the University Liggett School where he taught history, coached baseball and basketball, became the head of the Upper School, and met his wife of 38 years, Deborah Joy Garber. Louisville Collegiate School (Ky.) hired Chip in 1981, which began a 30-year tenure as a head of school that continued at the Columbus Academy (Ohio), Durham Academy (N.C.), and most recently at the Sanford School in Hockessin, Del. Chip was very involved with a number of professional organizations in an effort to enhance the broader independent school community.

A wonderful husband, father, brother, son, uncle, mentor and friend to so many, Chip knew when to speak and when to listen, and when he spoke people listened. He was thoughtful, patient, kind and loved to laugh. Chip enjoyed spending time in the outdoors hiking, biking, playing golf and tennis, and relaxing by the water. His love of the outdoors began with family vacations in New England and continued in his years at Camp Etowah, where he forged many life-long friendships.

In addition to his wife, Debbie MacKelcan, Chip leaves behind sons, Douglas Walker MacKelcan, III (Catherine) and Matthew Buckley MacKelcan; siblings, Mary Lee MacKelcan, Donald G. MacKelcan (Margaret), and Martha H. MacKelcan; as well as many much loved nieces and nephews. Chip was the son of late Dr. and Mrs. Douglas Walker MacKelcan; and the brother of the late David H. MacKelcan (Laura).

Funeral service was held at 10:30 am, Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew, 719 North Shipley Street, Wilmington, Del. Interment followed the service in Lower Brandywine Cemetery, Wilmington, Del.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to: The Chip and Debbie MacKelcan Scholarship Fund (Sanford School), 6900 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, DE 19707; The Chip MacKelcan ’67 Scholarship Fund (Tower Hill School), Alumni/Development Office, 2813 West 17th Street, Wilmington, DE 19806; The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (please specify MSA), Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, NY 10163-4777; or The National Kidney Foundation, Finance Department, 30 East 33rd Street, New York, NY 10016.