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Memorial for John Strong MacKenzie

Born in Hoopeston, Illinois on Feb. 24, 1925
Departed on Feb. 13, 2018 and resided in Reston and Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Service: Friday, Mar. 9, 2018
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

John Strong MacKenzie, age 92, passed away on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at the Adler Center in Aldie, Virginia. He was born in Hoopeston, Illinois on February 24, 1925, the third son of the late Kenneth MacKenzie of Glasgow, Scotland and Martha Florence Strong MacKenzie of Paxton, Illinois. He was preceded in death by his three brothers, Kenneth, Donald, and Robert MacKenzie. He spent his childhood in northern India (present-day Pakistan) before its partition, where both of his parents met, wed, and entered into Christian service as Presbyterian missionaries. Upon their return to the States, the family settled in New York City, and John attended Towsend Harris High School. Later, he enrolled in the College of the City of New York for one year before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II. John served as an aviation electronics technician and air crewman in the Asiatic Pacific Theater and received an Air Medal with Gold Star and other commendations for meritorious acts in aerial flight. At the conclusion of his military service, John embarked on a lifelong devotion to literature and the arts. He obtained a B.A. degree in English from the University of Southern California in 1949, and, later, an M.A degree in English from Columbia University in 1955. At Columbia he received a special commendation for his graduate thesis on the works of the English poet, painter, and printmaker, William Blake. He also pursued further graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At the time of his death, John was Professor Emeritus of English and the Humanities at Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he taught a variety of courses for thirty-two years and touched the lives of thousands of students over the course of his long teaching career. Prior to teaching at Germanna, he taught at a number of other colleges and universities, including Clemson University, Eastern Kentucky University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of South Florida, Clinch Valley College of University of Virginia (now University of Virginia College at Wise), and Virginia Commonwealth University. John was a popular and beloved professor among his students and well respected by his faculty colleagues. It was not uncommon for former students to bump into John on the streets of Fredericksburg and remark that his classes had inspired them to become writers, lawyers, and educators. After his retirement in 2002, he remained current in his field and also explored new disciplines by auditing courses at Mary Washington College and Georgetown University. John also traveled extensively and joined reading circles and French and Spanish conversation groups. His knowledge about tennis and baseball was legendary, as was his unwavering devotion to the Cleveland Indians. He enjoyed fine food, film, literature, and drama, and regularly attended cultural events in Washington D.C., Richmond, and New York City. Nourishing his strong interest in politics and world affairs, he read several newspapers daily and his favorite magazine, The New Yorker. John will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He will be remembered for his compassionate humility, his intellectual curiosity, and his generous spirit. He is survived by his brother Kenneth’s sons, Kevin MacKenzie of Rockville, Maryland, Bruce MacKenzie of Austin, Texas, and Douglas MacKenzie of Genesco, New York, and their wives and children; and by his brother Donald’s son and daughter, David MacKenzie of Kingman, Texas, and Lorna MacKenzie Davis of Goodman, Missouri, and their spouses and children. He will also be remembered by his loving companion and friend of thirty-one years, Mercedes Paz-Carty of Reston, Virginia, and her family, who dearly loved him and adopted him as their own, Margarita Marin-Dale, Thomas Dale, Philip Dale, and William Dale of Herndon, Virginia; Maria Eugenia Marin Wagner and family of Madrid, Spain; Monica Marin Rein and family of Fayetteville, Pennsylvania; Maria Ximena Marin of Los Angeles, California; Maria Ines Marin and family of Roanoke, Texas; and Edward Andrews and family of Jupiter, Florida. Funeral services will be held at 12:00 PM on Friday, March 9 at Quantico National Cemetery, followed by a remembrance lunch in celebration of John’s life. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at address listed below.

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