Grace Lucille McKenzie
December 4, 1933 - April 18, 2018
Grace Lucille McKenzie was born December 4, 1933 in her Grandmother’s house in Conrad, Montana. Her parents were Rosswell McKenzie and Jeanette (Vermulm) McKenzie. Grace was the third child from this marriage and was predeceased by her mother when Grace was six months old. Grace is also predeceased by her brother Roger and sister Verna. Rosswell remarried in 1935 to Thelma “Judy” McKenzie and had six more children. Grace is survived by her siblings Delbert (Jane) McKenzie of Moses Lake, Wa; Shirley Cox of Seattle Wa; Don (Lori) McKenzie of Ellensburg, Wa; Gene (Alice) McKenzie of Portage la Prairie, Mb; Harold (Judy) McKenzie of Kalispell, Mt; and Ken McKenzie of Eureka, Mt; as well as many nieces and nephews and their families.
Perhaps Grace’s closest family was her church – Gateway Covenant Church in Prince Albert. This fellowship has been her family for the past 45+ years.
Life in a home with nine children came with many blessings and challenges. Grace’s early years were full of hard work on a farm in the beautiful mountains of Montana. The home place, on Meadow Creek, seven miles up the mountain from Fortine Montana, included a sawmill, Christmas tree farm and a house that had no running water, no electricity and used a sawdust ‘ice house’ where food was kept. Grace excelled in school and was the first of her family to win an academic award from the state of Montana. She also enjoyed her time working on Uncle Squeak and Aunt Myrtle’s sheep ranch where she worked for seven summers. Grace had many stories from both lambing and shearing seasons.
The McKenzie home was intimately connected to the Fortine Community Church. It was there that the stories of the Bible came alive to Grace. She felt God drawing her toward a personal faith and relationship with Him. With her sister Verna by her side, and with the help of her parents, Grace prayed to receive salvation through Jesus Christ. Through the ongoing ministry of her local church and her response to God’s invitation, Grace continued to grow in her faith.
Grace was a pioneer. She was the first of the McKenzie family to go to Regina for Bible College. In 1952, Grace attended Western Canadian Bible Institute, which would later become Canadian Bible College. She led the way for six other McKenzie kids to follow. She had a great heart for God with deep spirituality. Trust in the Lord was a great feature of her life. She was faithful to the Lord even in hard times, like when her imminent wedding was canceled.
Grace graduated from Bible school in 1956 and worked at camps in Montana and Alberta. She then moved to Calgary where she landed jobs at two different banks. This was where her financial training began. This is also Grace was introduced to the Covenant Church. From there, she went back to Pioneer Ranch Camp in Alberta from 1966 to 1972 where she learned a lot about bookkeeping.
Grace was invited to go to Prince Albert as the Assistant Dean of Women at the Covenant Bible College. In the fall of 1975, Grace decided she wanted to live in Prince Albert permanently and would need to find additional work to support herself. This is when she began working for the Department of Northern Saskatchewan with the provincial government. It was here that Grace learned to work with computers and had many personal clients on the side, for whom she would do the books, payroll and taxes.
Grace had a big heart for those who needed support. Over the years she had many young girls in her home, offering them a home, food and love. Among her dearest friends were Pauline and Barb who lived with Grace for more than 20 years. Grace loved these women with all her heart and enjoyed their friendship and camaraderie.
Grace served faithfully at her local church and was part of the fabric of the community. She was regular in attendance, served in many roles and taught bible studies for many years.
Grace had a quick wit and a dry sense of humour right to the very end. It was very difficult to pull the wool over Grace’s eyes. Growing up with 6 brothers will do that to you! When she was asked a question, or someone tried to tease her she would respond immediately, with a straight face and twinkle in her eye.
Grace was extremely generous. There have been many stories shared of how she helped young people with their education, those who were struggling financially, needed help getting started or taking the next step. She was generous with her home, opening it up to many people. She was generous with her time whether it be conversations, her bookkeeping skills or studying God’s word.
Grace was constantly studying and memorizing Scripture. One of the passages she quoted often came from the Matthew 11:28-30 in the Message: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
After heart surgery in the spring of 2017, Grace struggled with health problems. In January of 2018, Grace was admitted into ICU at the Prince Albert hospital. Although Grace fought hard, she lost her battle in the early morning of April 18th 2018. She will be missed by her church family, her close friends and her McKenzie family. Although we will miss Grace, we are glad that her health struggles are over and that she is resting comfortably with her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whom she adored.
A special thank you goes to the caring and professional staff of Prince Albert’s Victoria Hospital staff, especially the dedicated staff in the ICU ward. Many friends from church and community visited Grace and have helped with her care and practical needs.
A Memorial service celebrating the life of Grace will be held at Gateway Covenant Church, on May 7th at 1:30 pm. Gateway Covenant is located at 1500 – 15th Avenue East, Prince Albert.
In lieu of flowers and in honour of Grace’s life and legacy, donations can be made to the Trellis Foundation. The purpose of Trellis Foundation is to be a catalyst of biblical, intentional and innovative discipleship in the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada. Donations can be made online at https://trellisfoundation.ca/give/ . Arrangements in care of MacKenzie Chapel & Crematorium – Shellbrook Funeral Home. Brian and Bev Stobbs, Funeral Directors. www.MacKenzieChapel.ca 306.763.8488