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Mac McCune

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"I'll be seeing you !"

So very sorry to hear that a friend to so many of us, Mac McCune, passed away this morning. My friendship with Mac goes back over forty years and he will be missed by so many of us. RIP my friend. - Gene Ward posted on Facebook 03/13/14 at approximately 8 PM.

McCune, Marlin Keith "Mac"

6 hours ago  • 

Marlin Keith "Mac" McCune, 79, of Branson, Mo., formerly Lincoln, died 3-13-14. Born 11-27-34 in Chanute, Kan. to Vernon W. and Vivian (Blakely) McCune. Graduate of Chanute High School. Attended University of Kansas at Lawrence. Leader, trumpeter of the "Mac Five" Dance Band. Manager at GAB early on; followed by various sales positions. Retired family counselor for Roper and Sons.

Mac was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church where he served on various committees. Beta Theta Pi fraternity, National Honor Society, Independent Insurance Agents Association, Nebraska Realtors Association, Sesostris Temple of the Shrine, Masons, past-president Cornhusker Kiwanis Club, Musicians Association, Lincoln Advisory Board for Valley Hope, Board of Directors of Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Nebraska Brass.

Family members include his wife, Peggy A.; sons, Dr. Bryan (Lisa) McCune, Raleigh, N.C., David (Coni) McCune, Jeff (Melissa) Jones, all of Lincoln; daughters, Patty McCune Parisi, Denver, Samantha (Mike) Sheffield, Lincoln; 10 grandchildren; brother, Dr. Larry L. (Barbara) McCune, Chanute; sister, Martha (Bill) Arnold, Bourne, Texas; nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by parents; sister, Mary Miller.

Funeral: 1 pm Monday (3/17) Trinity United Methodist Church, 7130 Kentwell Lane with Rev. James Keyser. Memorials to Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, Nebraska Brass or Trinity United Methodist Church. Family will greet friends from 3-5 pm Sunday at Roper and Sons, 4300 'O' St. Closed casket at church. Condolences, roperandsons.com.

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Click here for the Music of Mac McCune !

Click here to read more about Mac from the Lincoln Journal Star !

Longtime Lincoln trumpeter 'Mac' McCune dies at 79

During its heyday, the Aku Tiki Lounge in the Villager Hotel was Lincoln’s premier singles bar, sometimes for people who weren’t necessarily single. Married couples, single Lincolnites, business types in town for a weekend -- the lounge welcomed all kinds.

There were tropical drinks to match the Polynesian decor, and, for a five-year stretch beginning in 1969, one band owned the little pie graph quadrant of a stage at the Aku Tiki. It didn’t play Hawaiian music.

But The Mac Five would do just about anything else, former bass player Keith Heckman said. And they sounded great too, as long as they stayed out of the way of Mac McCune and his trumpet.

Marlin Keith “Mac” McCune died Thursday in Lincoln, just weeks after being diagnosed with colon cancer and about a month after performing his final show, a First Friday jazz concert at First Lutheran Church. He was 79.

McCune and his wife, Peggy, had moved to Branson, Mo., a few years ago, but came back to Lincoln frequently to see family and so that Mac could play at church concerts or more intimate events.

Peggy McCune said her husband used to joke that “I used to play in nightclubs, and now I’m mostly playing for funerals.”

He made that deep of a connection with so many people, she said. When news of McCune’s death began to spread to local musicians, they started calling Roper and Sons to offer to play at his service.

McCune is survived by his wife, two siblings, five children and 10 grandchildren. There will be a memorial service Monday at 1 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, where he and Peggy McCune were members.

Though Mac McCune served on the board for the Nebraska Council on Alcoholism, Peggy McCune said her husband enjoyed remembering the din in the nightclub and the sound of ice tinkling in glasses, if not the taste of the drinks. McCune himself was sober for more than three decades.

"(The Aku Tiki) became the place to go," Mac McCune told the Journal Star in 1999. "It only seated 75 people, but there was usually 150 or so in there. It's hard to explain the whys of it. Everything just jelled together. Maybe it was the music, the location and the atmosphere."

Fellow musicians give him more credit than that.

“He was just a joy to listen to,” said Dean Haist, a fellow Lincoln trumpeter who booked McCune’s dixieland shows at Brewsky’s.

Even when he played blues numbers, you could tell he was happy to be playing them, Haist said. McCune grew up in Kansas a fan of the big band sound of Louis Armstrong and Harry James -- especially James. "Man With a Horn" by James was one of McCune's favorites to play.

“You could hear a lot of their playing in his playing, his sound -- the love of big band music,” Haist said.

But he’d play nearly anything -- the Beatles, Three Dog Night, jazz, easy listening -- at the Aku Tiki Lounge -- everything, that is, except Hawaiian music. For about five years, sometimes six nights a week and easily five hours a night, The Mac Five was the house band at the Aku Tiki. The players behind McCune changed during the run, but his trumpet was featured in every performance.

“He knew everybody that walked into that door,” bassman Heckman said. “He knew what their favorite number was. He knew the name of their kids. He was a good showman. He knew how to make people feel good. It was a natural thing for him. He didn’t have to work at it.”

As recently as last year, Heckman played with McCune at an invitation-only ice cream social held for Bryan Hospital clients over the age of 55. Heckman said McCune remembered plenty of them from the Aku Tiki days, and lit into the songs they had requested in the '70s.

His sharp memory served him musically, too. Heckman said that even if they went two years without playing together, it felt like a week, tops.

“He had the talent to be the ultimate entertainer,” Heckman said.

Peggy McCune said, “Well, I thought he was the greatest.”

He could get people dancing, Peggy McCune said, herself included. She knew Mac McCune from his day job selling clothes at Simon’s, but hadn’t really talked with him until they found a corner to have a coffee one Friday night when she had gone to Aku Tiki with some fellow singles.

She said she thought about him through the weekend. They began dating soon after, but didn’t get married for another five years. Perhaps it was because they’d both been previously married, she said, and they were unsure.

They’d been married 38 years when Mac McCune died Thursday.

“He’s been my soul mate,” she said.