Rest In Peace, Mac

 Posted by at 1:31 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 162023

My world is emptier today because I got news that our dear friend Mac McCoy has passed away. Legions of RVers knew him as Mac the Fire Guy from the fire safety classes he taught at RV rallies and at Life on Wheels from coast to coast for so many years.

It is hard to imagine how many lives were saved with the lessons people learned at his seminars. I know that we had our own RV fire, and Terry was able to quickly put it out using one of the fire extinguishers we got from Mac and by using the skills she learned from him.

We met Mac during our first weeks on the road when we were students at Life on Wheels in Moscow, Idaho in 1999, and a close friendship grew from there. I can’t begin to tell you how many wonderful times we had and how many laughs we shared as vendors at RV rallies, teaching at Life on Wheels ourselves, having Mac as a featured speaker at our own Gypsy Journal rallies, or just hanging out at campgrounds between events all over the country.

Mac and I always referred to ourselves as brothers from another mother, and whenever we were parked near each other in a campground, he came over every morning for coffee. He loved Terry’s cooking and always made a habit of stopping in at dinnertime. And she always made sure that there was plenty to go around.

I remember one time at Elkhart Campground in Elkhart, Indiana when Terry made her wonderful Mexican food that included roasted beef tacos, refried beans, homemade salsa, and a lot of other goodies all from scratch. We were sitting outside with some other people enjoying the great food, and I asked Mac what he thought of the tacos. He moaned with pleasure and told me he thought his taste buds had just had an orgasm as he continued to chow down. 😊

Another time we were headed to someplace in Pennsylvania to teach at Life on Wheels, and we planned to park at a Walmart overnight. Mac got there ahead of us and called me to say he was in trouble and to hurry up. We were just a few minutes away, and when we got there we found that he had somehow managed to get his motorhome and the van he towed, full of his merchandise, jackknifed right in front of the busy store’s entrance. I parked our bus and ran over to see what I could do to help, and Mac asked me to get inside the van and get the steering wheel turned in the right direction because the wheels kept going sideways. I started the van and got the wheels turned and then honked the horn to let him know we were good to go, and Mac drove away. I guess once he got moving he didn’t want to stop, because he drove all around the large parking lot looking for someplace to park on the far edge. He didn’t like the first place so he kept on driving next door to another shopping center, and all I could do was sit behind the wheel of the van and wave at people as we went by. When he finally got stopped, I asked him why we had taken such a circuitous route, and Mac just said that he was so flustered that he completely forgot I was back there! That was his story and he was sticking to it, but I think he was just taking the scenic route and having fun at my expense. 😊

We were together for an FMCA rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and several of us went out to dinner at a Golden Corral buffet. Mac was expecting an important phone call and he left his cell phone on the table while he went to fill his plate, and told me to be sure nobody touched his phone while he was gone. I told him I would be sure that didn’t happen, and he said it was important that whoever was calling him could leave a message, so please be sure no one touched it. So I picked up his phone and stuck one end and then the other in my mouth, and then licked every bit of it and sit it down and promised him nobody was going to touch his phone. And nobody did!

Mac had some funny quirks, as we all do. One was that he never liked to drink out of a glass at a restaurant, he always wanted a straw. I asked him why, and he said because people he didn’t know had had their mouths on that same glass, and even though he knew it had been washed, it just made him uncomfortable to drink from a glass that somebody else had used. He got a funny look on his face when he took a bite of whatever it was he was eating, and I mentioned that that fork had probably been in somebody else’s mouth not too long ago. I think he bought his own chopsticks after that.

Rest in peace, Mac. Thank you for your friendship, your encouragement when we were new vendors and seminar speakers, and thank you for all the laughs over all the miles and all the years. We love you.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone the light remains.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  12 Responses to “Rest In Peace, Mac”

  1. So very sad to hear of Mac’s passing. He taught us a lot and made our world a safer place.

  2. Nick,
    Thank you so much, for your tribute to Mac. Fonda and I knew him, from the many rallies and classes
    I was thinking about him a couple of days ago, when I saw one, of the many, fire extinguishers that we’ve purchased from him.
    Your “thought for the day”, is quite befitting for Mac, the lessons that he taught, may continue to save lives and property, for many years to come.

    Thought For The Day – There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone the light remains.


  3. Mac was a Great guy. I attended his seminars everytime we were at a rally with him. We recently were at a FMCA National Rally, and the fire guy that was there said he knew Mac and that Mac was not traveling any longer.
    Thanks for letting us know Nick.

  4. Very sorry for the loss of your special friend.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear about Mac. We’ve known him for years and first met him when we attended an informational rally in Tennessee 10 years ago. After that whenever there was a seminar he was presenting I tried to be there. I will always remember him yelling “Carbon” to start the presentations and it certainly got everyone’s attention. We bought many products from him and I was always impressed with his knowledge and skills. You and Terry were lucky to have had such a good friend!

  6. Mac was a good guy who cared about people’s safety so sold great products. We bought many of them over the years. I’m sure he is now where he’ll never have to fight another fire.

  7. So very sorry to hear about Mac. We, too, benefited from his seminars and made our lives safer with his products.

    Do you have a link to his obituary? Would like to read it.


  8. I had never met him. But am sorry for your loss. Good friends are hard to find and keep for many years. So happy you have many memories.

  9. I’m sorry you lost your friend. We attended his seminar at the first Tucson rally of Life on Wheels. I think that was 2006. He was very knowledgeable about fire suppression and we learned a lot.

  10. I remember attending one of Mac’s presentations where he had the ladies in the audience put out the fires. Made a real impression on my wife and me. He was a great teacher.

  11. Oh my gosh everyone, thank you so much for all your kind words. Nick, I am so grateful to you that you wrote this article on my dad. My name is Autumn McCoy, I am George’s oldest child. I just left Oregon from spending a week and a half there I am shocked and stunned that my dad is gone. However, I’m so grateful to know that he touched so many lives and left such a positive impression on all you wonderful fine folks. Thank you so much for all your stories of him, and for the love that you have for him, and for the prayers.
    I may have actually met some of you, I traveled with dad on many shows.
    Reading this certainly has made a hard day easier. Thank you all.
    Kindly and forever grateful!!

    PS I’m working on an obituary. He and I were going to work on that but he left too soon.

  12. Just one more ex-RVer (retired) to express my sympathies on the loss of “Mac the Fire Guy”. I did not have the pleasure of seeing him in person, however I learned so much from his video! It taught me to not be afraid traveling in our motorhome. We only had one exit door which concerned me, however his explanation of how to escape a fire through a window eased my mind. He must have been a great guy!

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