Fred Malcolm ‘Mac’ MacBurnie, 90, Retired Newburyport Police Officer

Fred Malcolm “Mac” MacBurnie, 90, passed peacefully under the compassionate care of High Pointe House Hospice in Haverhill on Friday morning, Oct. 27, with his daughter Carol by his side.

Born on Aug. 20, 1927 in Newburyport, he was the son of the late Fred W. and Jean (Malcolm) MacBurnie. He felt privileged to grow up in “Joppa” and on Plum Island as it gave him his lifelong appreciation and love of the Merrimack River, the ocean, the sun, the sand, and the salt water marshes.

MacBurnie graduated Newburyport High School and did a post-grad year at Governor Dummer Academy. A proud World War II Navy veteran, he married the love of his life Helen (Woodsom) MacBurnie on Aug. 5, 1949 and celebrated 68 years of marriage in August. They spent their married life in Newbury dedicated to giving their two children Carol and David the best childhoods ever.

He worked in the family trucking business, Graf Bros. Express, as a driver and then dispatcher. For decades he delighted in telling stories of his escapades at Graf Bros., working with his brothers Dick, Duncan, Bobby, and Doug. MacBurnie was a police officer for the Newbury Police Department, retiring after 30 years with the department. He worked for a decade with his “clam buddies” for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the Plum Island Shellfish facility as a commercial clam digger, believing that digging shellfish was the vocation that gave him the greatest joy. MacBurnie dug his last pail of clams at age 83 and until a week ago checked the parking lot at Parker River daily to see who was on the water.

An accomplished fisherman, MacBurnie enjoyed fishing the Merrimack for flounder with his wife and daughter. In his later years, he and his wife enjoyed bird watching and drove the Plum Island Wildlife Reservation every afternoon. MacBurnie was an avid local sports fan and played three games of cribbage with his wife every night. He was a member of the Newbury First Parish Congregational Church and a longtime deacon of the church. MacBurnie was also a proud brother of St. John’s Lodge Masonic Temple in Newburyport.

MacBurnie is survived by his wife, Helen (Woodsom) MacBurnie, daughter Carol and granddaughter Casey Elizabeth. He leaves his grandson Andrew David and Andrew’s dear friend Kaycie Germain.

He leaves many siblings and their spouses whom he loved dearly. MacBurnie will be remembered by brothers A. Douglas (Sandra), Richard (Christine), Robert (Beverly), and Duncan (Barbara) and his sister A. Patricia Sayward. His nieces and nephews brought great joy to him: David, Jeffrey, Stephanie, Mark, Marie, Martha, Pam, Linda, Suzanne, Sarah, Annie, Dougie, Patti, and Cheryl, as did those relatives who predeceased him.

MacBurnie’s family also wishes to thank all those who enabled him to live at home independently until his calling. His family thanks the Anna Jacques Hospital, Great Lakes Caring, and High Pointe Hospice House for their outstanding attention to his challenges. To the ICU team of nurses (Patty, Steve, Alexis and Helen) you are the family’s unsung heroes. The dedication, competence, and diligence of Dr. Glenney, Dr. Laspina, Dr. Gross, Dr. Ghiasuddin, and Dr. Peter Shactman blessed him with decades of wellness as well as coveted time with family and friends over recent weeks.

In honor of MacBurnie’s wishes, he will be cremated. Visiting hours will be Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Elliott, Woodworth & Rogers Family Funeral Home, 35 Green Street, Newburyport, with Masonic Services conducted by St. John’s Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Newburyport at 3:30 p.m. prior to the start of the visiting hours.

Per MacBurnie’s request, he will sit on the mantle beside the ashes of his beloved cat Duke, who predeceased him in June.

In lieu of flowers please consider donating blood to the American Red Cross, hugging a loved one, or enjoying a large bowl of steamers.