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June (Fransen) MacKenzie
During the early morning of Christmas Day, June (Fransen) MacKenzie peacefully went to heaven after battling Parkinson's disease since 2003. June was born in Sterling, Illinois to Edwin and Mabelle Fransen and was the second oldest of nine children. Early on in her life it was evident she had an amazing musical talent; blessed with a beautiful soprano, operatic voice. Throughout her life she performed as lead soloist in countless musical productions and operas. June's voice was mesmerizing and surprising to all; that such a big, strong, beautiful voice came out of such a tiny body. June's repertoire includes: lead female roles in operettas (Pirates of Penzance, Trial by Jury, The Mikado, Patience, Ruddigore, H.M.S. Pinafore, Iolanthe, Yeoman of the Guard, New Moon, The Desert song, The Music Man); soloist in Handel's Messiah; opera performances (Cosi Fan Tutti, La Boheme, Pagliacci, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, and Carmen); and other professional solo appearances (Illinois Governor's Awards for the Arts, Seattle Opera Preview), and many benefits, recitals, and symphony soloist performances. June received her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music all while raising her two daughters. While working full time at Western Washington University as supervisor in the Music Library she taught voice lessons and was also the soloist for the Christian Science Church in Mt. Vernon, WA. In 2007, after 30 years, June retired from WWU and enjoyed travelling with her husband of 46 years, and spending time with her family. Mom loved her family so much. She was blessed with three grandchildren whom she adored. She was able to knit beautiful sweaters and blankets for all of them and sew pretty dresses for her granddaughter. She also painted beautiful porcelain dolls. Parkinson's really took hold in 2010 when her family had to make the hard decision to move her to Merrill Gardens where she could receive the best care possible; which is where she lived until moving onto heaven. Left behind to lovingly carry on her memory are: her husband Steve, daughter Pam (husband James) Taft and their children Taryn and Ryker, daughter Paula (fiancé Robert Martin) MacKenzie and her son Cole; sisters Shirley (Ken) DeWeese of Finlay Ohio, Bonnie (Fred) Davis of Clayton Indiana, Karen (Ken) Wennekamp of Hubbard Iowa, Eileen Fransen of Dallas, Texas; brothers Buddy Fransen of Byron Illinois, Kendall Fransen of Rock Falls Illinois, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father in 1992, her mother in 2003, her brothers David in 1973, and Wendall, in 2011. We will miss mom so much but do find comfort knowing that she is singing in heaven and we will see her again. A tribute to mom celebrating her life will be 3pm on January 8 at the Larimont Manor. (www.lairmontmanor.com) Please share memories at www.farewelltributes.comMoles Farewell Tributes-Bellingham
Published in Bellingham Herald on Jan. 6, 2013