HAROLD JOSEPH "MAC" McKENZIE, age 91, beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away Friday, August 23, 2013. Mac was the kind of person anyone would have been fortunate to have known.|
Born on January 1, 1922, in Hagerstown, Maryland, Mac was the only child born to Leo and Louella McKenzie. Upon graduation from Oliver Ames High School in North Easton, Massachusetts in 1940, Mac attended Bridgewater Teachers College. After the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January of 1942. Mac proudly served this country and bravely fought in the battles of Guadalcanal, New Guinea and New Britain. While recuperating in the Army hospital outside of Brisbane, Australia, from the jungle diseases he contracted during the various military campaigns he fought in, Mac met and fell in love with Lieutenant Florene "Flo" T. Kieke of the U.S. Army. Mac and Flo were married in Sydney, Australia, on June 23, 1944. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in September 1945, having received battle ribbons for the three (3) Pacific campaigns he served in. After their discharge, Mac and Flo moved to Washington D.C., where Mac attended and graduated from Georgetown University in 1948, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foreign Service. Mac worked for several years as a sales manager in Houston and Dallas, Texas, before retiring in 1985. Mac and Flo moved to Austin, Texas in 1988, where they resided until 2012, when they moved to Sugar Land, Texas.
Mac was an active member of Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire, Texas, and later, St. Martin's Lutheran Church in Austin. However, his greatest job was being a father to his son, Lance, and his daughter, Marilyn, as well as the best grandfather to his granddaughters, Courtney and Megan.
Mac was a remarkable and inspiring man. He was kind, caring, strong-willed and determined, and his legacy will live on through his children, granddaughters, and great-grandson. His dream had been to live abroad and work in the Foreign Service, but out of love for his family, he chose instead to live out that dream in the form of world-wide travel. He and Flo were fortunate enough to have traveled the world to 6 continents as well as all 50 states. One of his first loves was swimming in the ocean and on many occasions, his "wet toes" became a "dip" in oceans all over the world.
Mac leaves us with so many fond memories, but just a few include:
•Decades of attending UT football games both home and away with his son and family… where he was called by Coach Fred Akers the greatest fan of Longhorn football for a person who did not attend there.
•All of the family holiday gatherings held throughout the years.
•Yearly travels to the family timeshare in Panama City, Florida, with his son and his family.
•Those from his many occasions travelling the Asia/Pacific region and Europe with his son and daughter-in-law.
There were many funny memories as well, with a few including:
•His terrible taste in clothes. Mac's granddaughters had so many laughs at his expense over his wardrobe: stripes with plaids and a pair of polyester "anchor" pants from the leisure suit era.
•Being a child of the depression, Mac would never leave a scrap of food behind whether on his plate or his family's. For those occasions where there were leftovers, he would eat them for days.
Mac was a voracious reader and there was not a subject that he could not discuss, especially politics. He was a master of knowledge regarding the Civil War and spent many years as a proud member of the Austin Civil War Roundtable where he had so many friends who loved and admired him.
Mac was preceded in death by his wife, Florene Kieke McKenzie; his parents; and his eldest granddaughter, Courtney McKenzie-Thue. Mac is survived by his son, Lance McKenzie; daughter, Marilyn Eickenhorst and her husband Charles; granddaughter, Megan Boren and her husband AJ; great-grandson, Jensen O'Hara; and his former daughter-in-law, Deborah Diver.
Friends are invited to a visitation with the family from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Tuesday, August 27, 2013, at The Settegast-Kopf Co. @ Sugar Creek, 15015 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land (Williams Trace Exit). Graveside Services will be held at 11:15 AM, Wednesday, August 28, 2013, at Houston National Cemetery, 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive, Houston, with full military honors.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Aug. 26, 2013