Mack A. Redford was born on July 16th, 1937 in Weiser Idaho to parents John and Viola Redford. He died on June 30th 2015 surrounded by his family.
His life was a cinematic adventure full of rich experiences and accomplishments. He grew up in Weiser, Caldwell, Portland and Malad Idaho where he worked on the family’s Big Bend Ranch. His work ethic was fostered early on in life by his hard working parents and his grandfather who ran the ranch with stern, but loving guidance. He broke horses in High School and his love for the ranch continued into his seventies when he looked forward to helping his beloved cousin Tom “Tommy” Palmer with the round-up every year.
If you knew Mack, you definitely know what he thought of the University of Idaho. A die hard Vandal to the end, he spoke of his time in Moscow often and with great fondness. He obtained both his B.S. in Agriculture Economics and his Juris Doctorate Degree in Law from Idaho. A member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. During his senior year of Law School he served as the Police Judge for the City of Moscow. After undergraduate school he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served his country honorably.
On June 25th 1966 Mack married Nancy Tefft Redford. They met on a blind date in 1964, set up by a Pi Beta Phi sorority sister.
He was employed by the Attorney General’s Office in Boise. As a young attorney at the age of 29, he was asked by Governor Samuelson to replace the Warden of the Old Idaho State Penitentiary. A job most would happily refuse, Mack accepted the job and loved it. He was a man who saw people for who they were, regardless of social status, profession or if they had made mistakes and ended up in his care. His time as Warden positively influenced him for the rest of his life. He always gave people the benefit of the doubt.
After spending years in private practice Mack began his global adventures that went on for over 30 years. In 1977 he became the Deputy Attorney General for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The Territory consisted of 2,000 islands from Hawaii to the Philippines. Mack, Nancy and Daughter Holly moved from Boise to Saipan. The time spent in Saipan was very memorable for Mack and Nancy. They had their second child Andy, learned to sail and fell in love with Scuba diving.
In early December of 1978, Mack flew to Taiwan to crew the maiden voyage of a 42-foot sailboat “Lematau.” Together with Harry and Marie Smith, Minor Pounds, Mark Tibbits and Don Hazelwood they set sail for Saipan. After a two days they were warned of the incoming Typhoon Abbey and waited for the storm to pass on Okinawa.
Once the storm passed, they resumed course and had smooth sailing for another two days. Again they received transmission which warned Abbey had changed course and was headed for them. With nowhere to go, the crew endured large and violent seas. The Lematau was pounded by huge waves and winds over 100 knots. They had lost their engine, life raft, ripped sails and suffered electrical problems which damaged their emergency equipment and radio’s.
With cold canned food and a looming sense they may not make it, the crew all shook hands and prepared for the worst. Through adversity they worked together and all contributed to getting home. Mack had always credited Mark Tibbits with his vast sailing experience to saving the crew. In a recent letter from Mark to Andy in response to Mack’s claim of saving the ship; had this to say:
“When you go through something like that, it brings out the real characteristics and personalities of yourself and the people you are with, and that is why I loved and admired Mack so much. At the time, I may have been the one with the sailing skills, but your father taught me a lot about strength of character and enduring a bad situation. Our experience reinforced in me that long distance sailing is not so much about sailing the boat but how you get along with the people you are with. Largely because of Mack, a close family type environment was created on board Lematau, so I can just imagine what your life growing up in the Redford family would have been like. If you have a family of your own you are most likely living out the same values that Mack lived his life by. I know that I have lived a better life because of my association with Mack. On my office wall there are 3 or 4 photos of people who have positively influenced my life and one of them is the colour version of the photo you emailed to me.”
The day after Christmas the Lematau made it safely to Charlie’s Dock on Saipan and was greeted by friends, family and lots of Budweiser.
The next Journey of Mack’s life began in 1981 with Boise based international construction company Morrison Knudsen. Becoming General Counsel for MK took him to most of the world. Most notably he was an integral part of the building of King Khalid Military City in Saudi Arabia. Mack loved the MK family and lifestyle. He never imagined as a boy seeing other states let alone other countries and for that he was grateful.
After leaving MK he worked as Legal Counsel for The Channel Tunnel Contractors who built the 31 mile Channel Tunnel connecting England to France. He was based in Folkstone.
In 1992 he joined the Boise Firm Park & Burkett. Later he was hired by the World Bank of the Government of Nepal as contract and claims counsel for a hydroelectric project. In 1996, he became General Counsel for Micron Construction, which later turned into Kaiser Engineers. He joined Elam & Burke in 2001.
In 2007 he was appointed by Governor Butch Otter to Public Utilities Commissioner where he served and was reappointed in 2013. He was still in office at the time of his death. Mack loved his job greatly and enjoyed his co-workers. He was able to travel many times stateside to regulatory meetings and internationally for good will missions to help underdeveloped countries.
He is survived by his wife Nancy, Daughter Holly, Son’s Andy, Chris Murphy and Grandson Jordan.
Mack Redford was many great things. He left nothing on the table.