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Obituary of Della Marie McKenzie
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Beloved wife, mother, and grandmother Della Marie McKenzie passed away peacefully at home January 26, 2024 — just short of her 90th birthday. She was born Della Christopherson on February 5, 1934, in Wainwright, Alberta, Canada. She was the second oldest of four, with siblings Shirley, Palma and Keith. Della was an outstanding student, receiving Canada’s Governor General’s award as the best student in her high school. She went on to get her BA in education at the University of Alberta in 1956. She taught school in Edmonton, Alberta, much beloved by students and parents. Her income ($1,200 a year) supported her newly wed husband Keith McKenzie on his quest to become a physician. In June 1959, the young couple moved to Oakland, California, where Keith did a residency in internal medicine at Kaiser Hospital. They immediately fell in love with California, and were blessed by the birth of their firstborn, daughter Kathryn. Deciding to stay, the family moved to Watsonville, where Keith had been invited to join a general practice group. During their six years there Della brought sons Neil and Cameron into the world. Then off to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for three years, where Stewart was born, during Keith’s residency to be an eye surgeon. Then back to Santa Cruz to soon-to-be busy practice, in which Della acted as office manager for 25 years. They retired in the year 2000. Della has always enjoyed travel, especially with friends. Too many great times to be mentioned — South Africa the best of all. Della loved social events and meeting new friends. Her sisterhood was her bridge and tennis buddies and PEO. Her love for this community was apparent in her support of Cabrillo College, Dominican Hospital, Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and others. She responded to an appeal by her church, High Street Community Church, by agreeing to take in a troubled teenager, Michael Archer. He has been a loved member of our family since that time. Della has made some 20 trips to Guatemala with Keith as part of the Santa Cruz Rotary eye surgery team that brings free procedures to visually impaired indigenous people. She assisted the nurses by sterilizing and preparing surgical instruments for the procedures. Nothing was as important to her than her pride and joy — her family. The result has been a loving family doing fun things as a group — grandkids included. This included 40 summers camping in the Sierras at UC’s alumni camp, and “family jams” music in her home plus celebrations of birthdays and holidays. She is survived by husband Keith McKenzie, children Kathryn (Kathy), Neil, Cameron and Stewart McKenzie; grandchildren Ross and Hunter Nichols; Cailin, Benjamin and Annika McKenzie; Griffin and Fiona McKenzie; and extended family. The family is grateful for caregivers Kim McKenzie, Nora and Dana. A celebration of life is being planned for April 6 at 10 a.m. at High Street Community Church 850 High Street, Santa Cruz. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made in Della’s memory to Hospice of Santa Cruz County 940 Disc Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066 and Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired https://vistacenter.org/To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Della McKenzie, please visit Tribute Store
Celebration of Life
Saturday, April 6, 2024
High Street Community Church
850 High Street
Santa Cruz, California, United States
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In Loving Memory
1934 - 2024
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