Paul Philipp McCracken


Paul Philipp McCracken was born in Breese, Illinois on April 1, 1933. His life started with “a typo” as the doctor swapped his first and middle names, which seems appropriate for an “April Fool’s baby,” who always enjoyed good fun & friendly laughter. Thus becoming a man with three first names, his family called him Phil, legally he was Paul and his military nickname was Mac. He died peacefully of Alzheimer’s on March 6, 2020 at 86-years-old while at home in Opelika, AL, under the loving care of his wife, Barbara. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day.
Phil was the middle child in his family’s birth order and was blessed to have two sisters, Norma Jean & Jo Ann (another name swapping victim). His loving parents were Halcey McCracken & Margaret Harrell. Unfortunately, Halcey died early when Phil was only eight-years old. His mother was resilient and dedicated to her children, raising them while working several different manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania, Illinois and California. He enjoyed spending summer vacations with several aunts and uncles at their homes and on a farm where there was always things to do for a young boy. During high school, he was on the cheer team and participated in a work-study program to help his family.
After high school, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the young age of 19 in Jan 1953 during the Korean Conflict. Mac’s military service spanned 33 years, beginning as an air crew radar operator, becoming an electronic technician supporting F-111 jets during two Vietnam tours.
He rose to Chief Master Sergeant in the 31st CRS Tactical Air Command, where he was part of the leadership team managing avionics repair for F-15 fighter jet squadrons. Mac developed a passion of cars, tried his hand at stock car racing and thrilled his mom with a memorable dash in his convertible jaguar. He joined the Masonic Lodge in Oklahoma at age 30, was active in their charity work and became a 33rd degree Mason in the Las Vegas lodge.
Phil (23yrs) met Barbara (18yrs) at the Miami County 4-H Fair in Peru, IN. He was an Elk’s volunteer “Bingo Hawker” that caught Barbara’s attention with his “Hey, hey, hey let’s play bingo!” catch phrase. They soon began dating, married on Feb 14, 1960 only after she turned 21. They were blessed with 4 children (Bill, Jeff, Steve & Cheryl). Paul was an active father, balancing work with family activities: fishing, playing catch, coaching baseball, giving crew cuts, backyard foot races, harvesting Christmas trees, as well as teaching auto-mechanics, carpentry & gardening 101. He always loved his family, supported them and encouraged their dreams. His smile, laughter and wit will be missed, for now.
Paul was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, older sister, multiple aunts, uncles and cousins. He is survived by his wife, four children, eight grandchildren, three great- grandchildren and his younger sister.
Visitation was held in the Parlor at Frederick-Dean Funeral Home Tuesday, March 10, 2020 from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m.
A funeral service was held in the Chapel at Frederick-Dean Funeral Home Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. with Reverend Douglas Pitt officiating. Interment followed at Fort Mitchell.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a Masonic Children’s Home or Hospital.


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