The Reverend James "Mac" Speights

The Reverend James "Mac" Speights


Let us remember the life and ministry of Rev. James “Mac” Speights, Jr. of Huntington, NY, who died on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at the age of 77.

Mac was born on November 4, 1940 in Walterboro, SC to James M. Speights, Sr. and Marietta Stribling. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL in 1962 and from Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX with a bachelor of divinity degree in 1965. In 1963 he married Marguerite Johnson.

Mac moved to Camden, AK in 1965 to work as minister of Christian education at Camden Methodist Church. In June 1967 the family moved to Augusta, GA where he worked as minister of Christian education at Trinity-on-the-Hill Methodist Church. They moved again in June 1969 to Islip, NY, where Mac served as minister of Christian education at Islip UMC. In 1974 he was appointed pastor of Simpson UMC in Amityville, NY, and in 1982 he was appointed to Merrick UMC in NY, where he served until 1990. He also worked as a consultant at the Parish Resource Center (PRC) of Long Island in Rocky Point, NY from 1984 to 1994. He retired from The United Methodist Church in 1993. 

In September 1966 Mac and Marguerite welcomed Emkay James (formerly Michelle Kathleen) into their lives and in October 1968 James Johnson was welcomed to the family. Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s Mac was deeply involved with United Methodist Camps summer programs and provided leadership for creative programs involving puppetry, clowning, personal growth, spirit awakening, and nature. These types of programs continued with PRC and his private consulting business, M.A.C. Consultants, from 1990 to 2000.

In July 1989 he met his beloved Robert “Bob” Titus, who pre-deceased him. He moved into Bob’s beautiful home in Huntington in 1990, where they enjoyed a wonderful life tending carefully to each other’s needs and the fabulous garden which Bob had created. In 1995 Mac began work as coordinator of pastoral care for the Visiting Nurse Service (VNS)-Hospice of Northport, NY, continuing this work into the 2000’s.

In 2000, at his 60th birthday party, Mac decided to proudly come out to all his friends, family, and colleagues as a gay man. He was a quiet but strong, passionate and active advocate for the LGBT community, using his wisdom, knowledge and skills to promote and assist PFLAG, and to help plan and launch SAGE Long Island and the Long Island LGBT Center.

Mac was a masterful writer, a musician and an avid reader. His poems, sermons, stories and series “Speights of Life” will live on as a part of his legacy. Many, many close friends will remember his love, understanding, sharing of stories and great sense of humor.

Mac is survived by his children, Emkay J. Forest (Lara) and James J. Speights (Madrid). He also leaves five cherished grandchildren, Benjamin, Ally Rose, Aiden, Amaya and Axel, as well as his sister, Virginia Harrison, and his partner, Bill Huckaby.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to PFLAG and/or the Long Island LGBT Network, earmarked for SAGE-LI. A celebration of Mac Speights’ life will be held in early spring at the UU Fellowship of Huntington, 109 Browns Rd, Huntington, NY 11743.