Molly K. Macauley, vice president of an environmental think tank, dies

Molly K. Macauley, a Roland Park resident, was vice president and a senior fellow with Resources for the Future, a Washington think tank that focused on the environment and natural resources.
Molly K. Macauley, a Roland Park resident, was vice president and a senior fellow with Resources for the Future, a Washington think tank that focused on the environment and natural resources. (HANDOUT)

Days began early and ended late for Molly K. Macauley, a Roland Park resident, who was vice president and a senior fellow with Resources for the Future, a Washington think tank that focused on the environment and natural resources.

"Every morning started at 5 a.m. with a long, long run through the neighborhood. She ran year-round and the weather was irrelevant," said Lee Lasky, her companion of 12 years. "She valued her time and she could think while she was running. She ran through the neighborhood and saw lots of people out walking their dogs at that hour."


After completing her run, Dr. Macauley returned home where she prepared for work.

"I then would take her to catch the 7:40 a.m. or 8:10 a.m. MARC train. It wasn't uncommon for her to come home from work at 9 p.m. or 11:30 p.m.," Mr. Lasky said. "The more she rose at Resources for the Future, she had more responsibility. I'd go to the station and pick her up because I didn't want her walking to some parking lot late at night."


At night before going to bed, she walked the couple's two dogs, Wilga, a 71/2-month-old white-and-cream colored wolfhound, and Leo, a dark brown 70-pound Plott hound with a "booming voice. One of the strongest dogs I've ever seen," said Mr. Lasky.

The couple had returned from an Orioles game — "We attend one game a year," Mr. Lasky said — on July 8. Ms. Macauley was walking her dogs near her home in the 600 block of W. University Parkway when she was fatally stabbed.

Dr. Macauley was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was pronounced dead. She was 59.

"Homicide detectives are continuing to investigate this case," said city police spokesman Detective Jeremy Silbert.


"She was a very sort of pure and loving person who was dedicated to a passion in her life and that was making the world a better place," said Tom Geyer, a cousin who lives in Federal Hill.

"She was macro devoted to it on every level of the stratosphere. She did it for her country, city, neighborhood, family and friends," said Mr. Geyer, a brand strategist. "She was kind, eager, calming, loving and always positive. She was always smiling and loved to give hugs. She was humble."

The daughter of Sidney William Macauley, an IRS special agent, and Gloria Anita Macauley, a homemaker, Molly Kenna Macauley was born in Richmond, Va., and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and Falls Church, Va., where she graduated from high school.

She earned a bachelor's degree in 1979 in economics from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and earned a master's degree in 1981 in economics from the Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate, also in economics, in 1983.

"She knew what her purpose in life was at an early age and there was no stopping her," said Mr. Geyer.

Robert Eugene Macauley, her uncle who lives in Carlisle, Mass., recalled when she was given a tricycle at age 5 or 6.

"I was living with her parents one summer when I was a student at Virginia Tech. I thought she'd ride the tricycle for about five minutes," he said. "She went down the street made a turn, went down another street and up a hill. I was walking alongside and I think she must have ridden a mile. She was born with this attitude and drive to succeed."

From 1979 to 1983, when she joined Resources for the Future, Dr. Macauley had worked as a policy analyst for Communications Satellite Corp.

At Resources for the Future, her research interests included space economics and policy, "the economics of new technologies for research and understanding of the interactions between people and natural resources," wrote Mr. Lasky in a biographical sketch.

"She was also interested in the use of economic incentives in environmental regulation, climate and earth science and recycling and solid waste management," he wrote.

Dr. Macauley, who served on numerous special committees of the National Academy of Science and federal agencies, also served on the board of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy at the College of William & Mary, and Women in Aerospace Scholarship Committee.

She was the author of more than 80 articles, reports and books and often testified before Congress.

"Molly was certainly well-regarded by her friends and colleagues, and she made an impact on so many lives," Mr. Macauley said.

"She was so exuberant and always had a wonderful smile and tone in her voice. It made you want to respond to her questions. She could draw people out," he said. She was a good listener and not a motormouth."

Mr. Lasky met Dr. Macauley in 2004 at the old Mount Washington ice rink, where he was a rink guard.

"Here was this slender blonde woman producing figure eights over and over again. She was very focused," he said. "She later skated over to me and asked about the music that was playing. Then I would see her here every Tuesday, and that's how we started dating."

On their first date, Dr. Macauley told her new boyfriend that her career was very important to her.

"She was up front about it and very open. It made a big impression on me," said Mr. Lasky, who is a city Recreation and Parks supervisor. "Because I work weekends and she worked long hours, we made sacrifices for each other."

Dr. Macauley worked in a second-floor home office while listening to Jimmy Buffett and Norah Jones CDs.

"She had an astounding energy level of anyone I've ever known. It wasn't frantic or frenetic. She was driven to give her absolute best and was calm and focused," said Mr. Lasky. "She'd stay up all night just to get a job done."

For more than 20 years, Dr. Macauley had a second job as an adjunct economics professor at Johns Hopkins.

On weekends when she had spare time, Dr. Macauley liked to garden, mow the lawn and water her plants. "She loved doing those things because in many ways she was a country girl. She enjoyed doing the simple things."

When she was 12 years old, Dr. Macauley became a Christian Scientist and was a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist on West University Parkway.

"She was always studying the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy and had filled many notebooks. She was like a Talmudic scholar," Mr. Lasky said. "She tried to live her life that way and in everything she did."

Mr. Lasky said the couple had led a "very private home life." They took dancing lessons and liked to dance to salsa music. They watched Orioles games and collected books.

Dr. Macauley was a dog lover and liked taking in and caring for rescue dogs.

Her husband of four years, William Jeffrey Sheppard, a software entrepreneur, died in 2003.

A Christian Science celebration of life service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at the Second Presbyterian Church, 4200 Saint Paul St., in Guilford.

In addition to her companion, uncle and cousin, Dr. Macauley is survived by many other cousins.


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