Troubled Life Ends For Homeless Vet Kenny Mac

Kenny Mac. Photo by Adrian Black
Kenny Mac. Photo by Adrian Black

Kenneth MacPhearson, aka Kenny Mac, was featured in EW Oct. 10, 2013, as a homeless vet trying to get back on his feet with the help of local agencies, churches, nonprofits and Veterans Administration programs. After our story came out, Mac found six months of housing in a small apartment, but died July 13 following an apparent head injury sustained in the Whiteaker neighborhood.

The circumstances surrounding his injuries were investigated by the Eugene Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit, but “they were not able to find any evidence that he was assaulted,” says EPD spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin. The medical examiner “ruled the manner of death was undetermined,” she says.

Mac’s friend Kim Craig says, “He, along with much difficulty, was blessed with many moments of grace in his life. He was a kind, good-hearted man who got into trouble with alcohol and drugs.”

Craig says Mac was born in a small town in California on July 2, 1965, grew up in Missouri and is survived by two daughters and a sister. After high school he went into the Army Medical Corps as a surgical technician. He served as a medic in the Panama/Grenada era. He moved to Oregon in the fall of 2013 and worked as a carpenter at the Oregon Country Fair. He was also a member of the Rainbow Family and a Dead Head.

“He told me once that children and dogs loved him and he figured if that was true the rest didn’t matter,” Craig says. “He was known to his fellow veterans on the street to be a man who would give you the shirt off his back.”

“I believe my friend died because of foul play,” Craig says, “but I don’t believe we will ever know what happened to Kenny Mac.”