A few years ago, the Murray, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce invited John Mack to be the keynote speaker at their annual banquet. It was during this occasion that he was greatly surprised when they named the city park’s nature trail in his honor.
This main branch and tributaries of the trail encompass just a little less than two miles in Central Park. The wooded trail has different kinds of trees shrubs, many plants, wild flowers birds. and small wild life indigenous to the Kentucky country side. it’s a nature lover’s haven to observe and study these. Then others like to enjoy a relaxing stroll or hike through the trail.
The trail is quite an asset to the park which already has ball fields, batting cages, frisbee golf, children’s playground, swimming pool, picnic pavilion and tables a ” Playhouse in the Park,” amphitheater and a Trail of Trees” which is a short surfaced trail with plaques recognizing past presidents of the Chamber of Commerce.
It was because of his phenomenal success in the field of journalism at the national level that the Chamber chose to honor him in this manner due to his love of nature.
Growing up in Murray, he and his buddies enjoyed hiking, exploring, hunting, fishing, and swimming. I even happen to remember he and Tom McLean making and flying kites on the hillsides. He was a member of the Boy Scouts of America where they had campouts there. Also many family camping trips were made in this and surrounding areas. Outdoor activities were definitely a favorite pastime of his and his friends.
John Mack was on the varsity MHS football team where one of his teammates was Gordon Cooper, one of the six first astronauts. John Mack was subsequently highly impressed with Gordon’s world wide fame in the space program, and was always proudly remembering his high school teammates and games. (Team picture JMC is front row 1st on left (#51 ); Gordon Cooper is on front row, 2nd from right, #54).
His fondness of journalism began in high school when he was involved with the Tiger newspaper, and the First Christian Church newsletters and publications. Ms Bagwell and Ms Tarry were journalism and English teachers who helped him develop his love for writing and composing manuscripts. Then his journalism professor at Murray State College was the beloved Dr. L.J. Horton whom they affectionately called
“The Chief “, and encouraged him to pursue a career journalism. They were extremely supportive. He later graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism receiving honors. One of his classmates was Harry Reasoner of “60 Minutes” fame. They were great friends and it made John Mack very proud of his success.
He started in Des Moines, Iowa with Better Homes and Garden magazine. However his journalism career was interrupted by his navy service in the Korean War where he was a Lt.Jg.Executive Officer and Navigator on the USS Toucan minesweeper for three years. When he returned to civilian life he was named editor of Household magazine and this was so successful that it was purchased by Curtis Publications. He then became editor of Together, the Methodist magazine, and this is where and when he became lifetime friends with Norman Vincent and Ruth Peale. He still serves on the board of Guidepost magazine. He was the editor of many national magazines and publications to name a few American Home McCall’s Ladies Home Journal Victoria, Country Livings Good Househkeeping, and as New Magazine Enterprises he started ESPN Sports and Smart Money. He is currently serving as Vice Chairman of The Twins Foundation.
John Mack has received many awards, such as the University of Missouri Outstanding Senior Journalism Student when he graduated and The University of Missouri-Columbia Distinguished Service in Journalism Award In 1970. Many honors followed. two of which are The Henry Johnson Fisher Award in 1989, and the Professional Journalism Hall of Fame Award in 1995.
The Henry Johnson Fisher Award is the most prestigious award to honor a magazine leader who has gained distinction through significant and long-standing contributions to the publishing business–one who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, skill and understanding in unifying the editorial advertising circulation and business aspects of magazine publishing into a successful enterprise. The Deadline Club, New York City Chapter Society of Professional Journalists Hall of Fame was awarded in 1995. The other honorees were Mel Allen Art Athens Murray Kempton. Arhur Ochs Sulzberger, Mike Wallace, and Barbara Walters.
He has been on several Presidential Committees. Some especially notable were President John F. Kennedy’s What Journalists can do to Help Promote World Peace. consisting of prominent magazine editors. Lady Bird and Heart Specialist , Dr. Michael De Bakey’s Committee “The Prevention of Heart Disease and Strokes.” Mr. Carter also served on Lady Bird’s Highway Beautification Committee and others.
It is because of his phenomenal journalism accomplishments and humanitarian service endeavors that his beloved hometown of Murray, Kentucky proudly chose to honor him by the naming of the John Mack Carter Nature Trail.
This is his legacy, and he is genuinely most appreciative and grateful for this gilt-one that “keeps on giving” for the enjoyment of everyone…This, in my words is a glorious tribute which is certainly deserving and makes life so wonderful! Thank you, “big brother” for giving us this magnificent nature trail, and as Dale and Roy would say, “Happy Trails to You.”
Like Tony Bennett sings “I left my Heart in San Francisco”, John Mack certainly left his in Murray, Kentucky.