Fleury Velie Mackie, a generous, humorous and
caring member of the Princeton community for over
65 years, died peacefully early in the morning of
She was a loving mother and stepmother to her four
daughters and her four stepchildren. Fleury helped
hundreds of people in the Princeton/Trenton area
with her philanthropic involvement. At various times
in her life, she com- mitted her time and resources to
the following organizations: HiTops, the New Jersey
State Museum, HomeFront, Princeton University Art
Museum, Morven, and others. Her legendary parties
were often created to benefit local causes.
Besides her monetary contributions, she was always eager to give her time and
talent to community causes, such as Family Born where she assisted births, and was
both a volunteer and fundraiser for the Princeton Hospital.
She operated with a unique combination of humor, compassion, honesty,
practicality, and discretion. She looked for and helped others to find laughter, even
at the darkest moments. Always glamorous, she was nevertheless loaded with grit
Fleury was born in Moline, Illinois, in 1926, and spent most of her youth in Yellow
Springs, Ohio. She was a graduate of the Foxcroft School, and Ogontz junior college.
She was the great, great, granddaughter of John Deere, and the granddaughter
of Willard Velie, who founded the Velie Motor Company, which manufactured
automobiles lfrom 1909 to 1928, and the Velie Monocoupe from 1927 to 1929.
She met her first husband, Jack Valdes ,on a blind date at Princeton football game,
and a few years after marriage, moved to Princeton permanent- ly.
In 2011, Fleury wrote an admired memoir, Born Not Moment Too Soon.
Fleury was an accomplished horsewoman throughout much of her adult- hood.
Her equestrian skills were polished at the Foxcroft School, and, well into her 70s, she
spent time riding horses each summer while out West.
She was predeceased by her first husband Jack Valdes, her second hus- band
Donald Mackie, two of her daughters, Vicky O’Donoghue and Stacy Lorenceau, and
by her step-daughter, Diana Mackie.
Fleury is survived by her daughters Kelly Valdes and Midge Valdes, by Midge’s
husband Stanley Kaplan, by her step-children Douglas Mackie, David Mackie and
his wife Mary Rabbitt, and Cynthia Mackie and her husband Jim Tar- rant, and by
her grandchildren Margay Kaplan, Pierce and Nick McKellar, Antoine, Thomas and
Olivier Lorenceau, and her step grandchildren Kevin and Melati Tarrant, and Ariane
Fleury, with her good cheer and positive attitude, will be dearly missed by them, by
her cousins, her nieces and nephews, and her many, many friends.
Fleury Velie Mackie