James E. “Mac” MacRostie, 80, retired associate director of operations at the Fine Arts Center, died March 20 at Hospice of the Fisher Home, Amherst, following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
For 30 years, he directed operations for the FAC Concert Hall. He was instrumental in establishing the campus’s current commencement ceremony and in the restoration of the Old Chapel’s carillon bells.
In his long career, he worked in technical theater, acting and directing in Chicago, New York and his native Minnesota, where he was a founding member of Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis and the Stagecoach Melodrama Theater.
During his 37 years in the Pioneer Valley, he performed, directed and designed for Commonwealth Opera, Valley Light Opera, Hampshire Shakespeare Company and Mount Holyoke Summer Theater. His all-time favorite roles included Willy Loman, Sgt. Rough, Dr. Frankenstein, Henry VIII, God, Falstaff, Toby Belch, King Lear and his last role, “the Old Jew” in the Northampton premiere of “Burning Words.” Valley residents knew him best as either Santa Claus or the voice of “The Power and Class of New England,” the Minuteman Marching Band.
He was a member of the Masons, Actor’s Equity Association, the Kappa Kappa Psi marching band fraternity, Minuteman Band Hall of Fame and the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas.
He leaves his wife, Robin; daughters, Marah MacRostie of Amherst and Marta MacRostie of Astoria, N.Y.; and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
A private burial is planned; there are no visiting hours. Condolences may be sent to Robin MacRostie, 95 Butterfield Terrace, Amherst, MA 01002, or the Douglass Funeral Home guest book.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Fisher Home.