ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dale Fredrick Mackey seemed to fall off the planet.
Few had known what had become of the Albuquerque man over the past six decades until his obituary appeared in the Journal last week. He had died in Dallas at age 81, they learned, but in November, though no explanation was given as to why it had taken until last Friday for him to be returned to his hometown to be interred near his parents at Fairview Memorial Park.
The obituary listed the usual accomplishments – Mackey graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1952, the University of New Mexico in 1956 and a master’s program at the University of Southern California in 1959. He had served in the Army Reserve. He had “served the Lord Jesus.”
It also listed some not-so-typical accomplishments, including his work as a film editor and director at MGM Studios.
And this: Mackey at one time had been a member of Heaven’s Gate, the UFO-worshipping cult whose 39 members, including founder Marshall Applewhite, committed suicide en masse sometime before March 26, 1997, at a Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., mansion, in a bizarre plan to leave their bodies – “vehicles,” as they called them – to board a spaceship tailing the Comet Hale-Bopp as it passed close to Earth.