David McKenzie obituary
David Campbell McKenzie, 98, was born at St. Joseph Hospital, St. Paul, Minn. February 27, 1923, and died April 5, 2021, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Living fully to the end, he died peacefully with his children around him.
In 1927, at age four, his family moved to Lake City, Minn. He attended Mary E. McCahill grade school and loved fishing on Lake Pepin with his father. He attended high school at McCahill and enjoyed varsity basketball and pulling pranks like switching dates with his identical twin brother John. The two of them purchased their first car, a Ford Model A together.
In 1940 Dave entered St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minn., in pre-medicine and in June of 1942 enlisted in the Navy to serve in WWII. He became the cadet squadron commander at St Olaf’s Navy Aviator school, went to Navy Flight School in Le Mars, Iowa, and Columbia, S.C., where he did not qualify for flying, which was to his mother an answered prayer. From there he was transferred to officer training at Fort Schuyler Naval Midshipman School in New York City and served as an Ensign on a mine sweeper in the Pacific. Dave became one of the first Americans to arrive at Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped. After the war, he earned a degree in business from the University of Minnesota.
In 1947, at a Newman Center dance, he met Margaret Rose Ganshirt (1923-1975) from Gratiot, Wisc. She had been a Second Lieutenant Army nurse serving on a hospital ship and was also studying at the University of Minnesota for a master’s degree in maternal child nursing. They fell in love and on May 28, 1949, were married.
Dave returned to Lake City and along with his twin brother John eventually took over their father’s McKenzie Farm Implement Company. Over the years they expanded the business to include selling Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles running the Hollywood Theater, a rural gas delivery business and managing a farm east of Lake City.
Dave loved working with his hands, especially in carpentry. In 1957 he built a home on South Oak Street where he raised his seven children. Bored at 78, he built a new home next door.
In 1964, during a period of racial upheaval, Dave and Margaret in conjunction with St Mary’s Church welcomed Phillip Dean, a young black man from Nassau, Bahamas into their family. Phillip attended Lincoln High School for a year and Lake City, an all white community at the time embraced him. After Dave’s wife Margaret died of cancer in 1975, he continued to raise his children and run his businesses. He never tired of talking about his family and often said it was the most rewarding part of life.
After Dave’s retirement he pursued passions such as politics, dancing, golfing, charities, travel, and his cherished Catholic faith. Dave served as a Wabasha County Commissioner from 1994 to 1998. He was active in Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus and the American Legion. Above all, Dave’s passion was for people. More than once he hired his favorite orchestra at the Lake City Sportsman’s Club and invited the entire community to come join in a complementary evening of dancing and socializing. Dave made a point of remembering and using people’s names, which he would often say, were the most important words in the English language. When asked for advice, he often said, “Don’t take yourself so seriously, learn to laugh at yourself and a smile doesn’t cost you anything.”
Dave is preceded in death by his parents Florence Ann (Lepper) McKenzie and John Shebat McKenzie, his wife Margaret Rose (Ganshirt) McKenzie, daughter Julie Ann McKenzie, twin brother John S. McKenzie, sisters Patricia (McKenzie) Coyle and Katherine (McKenzie) Baker.
Dave is survived by his sisters Jean (McKenzie) Lee and Janet (McKenzie) Perrizo, his children Dr. David McKenzie (wife Marian, sons Colin and Sean from Gallup, N.M.), Mary Elizabeth McKenzie from St. Paul, Minn., Maureen McKenzie Haase (husband Ted, and children Rachel and Ben) from Edmonds, Wash., Mark McKenzie (wife Susan and daughters Megan Mc-Kenzie from Los Angeles and Mollie (McKenzie) Gilbertson from Des Moines, Iowa, Kate McKenzie-Scott (husband Bill from Palo Alto and daughter Emma from Washington, DC) and Daniel McKenzie with son Angelo from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Dave’s memorial service will be at 11 a.m., Friday July, 2, 2021 at St Marys of the Lake Catholic Church. His preferred memorials are St Mary’s of the Lake https://stmarysandstpatricksmn.org and The Lake City Food Shelf www.lakecityfoodshelf.org.