Well-Known Harrisburg Businessman Dies

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By Matthew Searcy

HARRISBURG -- Mackie Nicholes is being remembered by many people across Southern Illinois. The Harrisburg resident died yesterday. He was founder and owner of Mackie's Pizza and also co-owned WSIL-TV in the early eighties.

Those who knew Nicholes describe him as a loving and caring person. A good friend and family man who will have an impact on Southern Illinois long after his death.

"He was definitely a father figure to me," said John McPeek. "He took me underneath his wing and taught me everything about the pizza business, about business and how to treat people and how to talk to people."

McPeek began working for Nicholes at Mackie's Pizza in Harrisburg in the early 1990's and the two quickly developed a close bond.

"I traveled all over the United States with him," said McPeek. "I saw a lot and I learned a lot."

McPeek describes Nicholes as family oriented, always outgoing and extremely business savvy. The founder of Mackie's Pizza is also a former part owner of WSIL and Saluki Travel.

"He was definitely a business man," explained McPeek. "He was in the news business, the radio business but Mackie's was the biggest thing he had going for him. He was very proud of this place."

McPeek says Nicholes' health had been failing him for several years but the two remained close. With their final exchange coming just hours before Nicholes' death.

"When I came into the room on Monday morning he asked me to keep in touch," said McPeek. "I knew then that it was about to be his time."

Mackie Nicholes is survived by his wife and three children but McPeek says his life will live on through his business and through his favorite memories of his good friend.

"Arguing with him," explained McPeek. "We always argued a lot and I am going to miss those phone calls."

Visitation for Nicholes will be held on Thursday at Reed Funeral Chapel in Harrisburg. A memorial service is set for Sunday at Harrisburg's First Presbyterian Church. Both Mackie's pizza locations will be closed that day in his honor.
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