February 22, 1927 – November 26, 2018
Our beloved matriarch, Kay, has moved on to join her predeceased husband, Bob McKenzie. Born in Vermilion, Alberta to Edward and Hilda Dwyer, Kay’s mother died with her birth. She is also predeceased by her father, and siblings William, Jack, Edith and Ronnie.
Growing up motherless in her first few years of life, we believe, instilled the fortitude, survivability and determination to grasp life and make herself and the world around her the best it could be. This strength carried Kay during her entire life. Through volunteerism and service, she accomplished much more than an average citizen could possibly imagine. As a youth, Kay was charged with much of the care of her handicapped sister and younger brothers. She excelled at sports. She was asked to play semi-pro women’s fastball as a young woman. Throughout her adult life, she was consistently vying for the championships in curling and golf, and was very active in promoting and developing those sports. Kay’s booming voice was a constant at the Labour Day men’s golf tournament, as she insured each flight went out on time.
In 1952, Kay married the love of her life, Dr. Robert ‘Bob’ McKenzie, and moved to Vegreville where she helped him grow his practice of Chiropractic. Once she adopted Vegreville, she set about doing all she could to enhance the lives of everyone in that community. Kay’s temerity brought her to a leadership role in nearly every organization or project she committed to. It would be impossible to list all of Kay’s accomplishments here, but some of them are as follows:
Kay was elected to town council in Vegreville from 1970 to 1989 (excluding 1980-83). She was the first female mayor of Vegreville from 1989-to 1994. She was best known for the Vegreville Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg), a project of the Chamber of Commerce led by Kay to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the RCMP in Alberta. Other community achievements include the Vegreville Water Corridor, Recreation Centre, new Health Unit, new multipurpose complex, and the revitalization of the downtown core. She was a member of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, a director of the Vegreville Cultural Association, member of the Board of Governors of Lakeland College, Provincial Command of the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary, chair of the National Fundraising Committee of the Canadian Cancer Society, and a director of the Alberta Cancer Hospital Board. In 1991,Kay was presented the Volunteer Merit Award of Canada by Deputy Prime Minister Don Mazankowski, who once said, “If you want to get a job done, call Kay!”
Kay also managed to raise five children! By her example, Kay inspired in her children a curiosity in all things cultural, natural, societal, musical, and geographical. We all loved our family outings and vacations to explore something new. Kay also loved hosting gatherings of family and friends, and would cook and serve wonderful meals to share on all special occasions. Kay was often the first to step in to help anyone in need or crisis. Her example moved all of her children to choose careers serving others.
When Bob and Kay retired to Sooke, BC, Kay immediately jumped into membership with the local Rotary Club and Lions Club. She remained active in these clubs until the last few years of her life. She was approached a few times to run for mayor of Sooke, but politely declined.
Kay will be missed, and her spirit and inspiration will carry on in those who survive her:
Her brother Ed (Lynn) Dwyer; Children Kim, Kevin, Robynne (John) Murray, Rae, and Kirk; Grandchildren Kelty (Mark) Pieper, Nicolene, Ayla (Auren) Challenger, Erin, Adley and Kiersay; Great grandchildren Lumi and Ocea .
A celebration of Kay’s life will be held in the spring of 2019.