BBQ and basketball in Riverhead in memory of ‘Daddy Mack’

Roy Mack Sr., Bernice Mack, Stotzky Park
GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Roy Mack Sr.’s widow, Bernice, sports a T-shirt with her beloved husband’s photo at Saturday’s gathering in Riverhead.

Saturday marked the first of two days of baskeball, barbecue and togetherness at Riverhead’s Stotzky Park, where adults and young people alike gathered to remember a special man who, friends and family said, cared deeply for Riverhead and its youth.

Roy Mack Sr., who died in 2008,  was not only a Riverhead  mason, but a community activist, sponsoring two youth modified softball teams, the Masonettes and the Blockbusters.

The teams were formed in 1978 and disbanded in the mid-90s, event organizers said.

“He loved baseball, that was his heart,” said his widow, Bernice Mack, at Saturday’s gathering. “He bought their outfits and he threw a party for them every week, whether they won or not.”

As several young people took to the courts Saturday, the adults, wearing orange shirts memorializing Mr. Mack with his photograph, sat in the shade at Stotzky Park, relaxing and eating barbecue.

A  three-on-three basketball tournament was scheduled for throughout the event, with recreational games played in between.

Dorothy Lewis, a former Masonette who played between 1979 and 1981, said the event also serves as a reunion for Mr. Mack’s former players.

“This helps to keep his memory alive because of all he’s done,” Ms. Lewis said. “He was a pillar of the community and the church, especially to the young men he apprenticed as masons.”

Mr. Mack’s daughter, Cheryl Atkins, said despite the fact the event is only in its second year, much good has already come of it already.

“This year we were able to give a Riverhead High School senior a $500 scholarship to college and we also have backpacks with school supplies inside for any children that participate or come to the event,” she said.

“Daddy Mack” as she and others caller her father,  “was awesome,” she said. “Indescribable, really, we can’t praise him enough for what he has done for the community.”

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Stotzky Park, Riverhead, Daddy Mack
GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Youth basketball takes center stage at the annual barbecue and fundraiser in Stotzky Park.