Cover photo for James McKenzie's Obituary
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1924 James 2017

James McKenzie

February 19, 1924 — August 16, 2017

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 am Monday, August 21, 2017 at the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Hoyt Lakes with Fr. Peter Lambert celebrating. A visitation will be held from 2-4 pm Sunday at the Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Aurora with a prayer service at 3:30 pm. Visitation will continue one hour prior to mass at the church. Military honors will be accorded by the Aurora-Hoyt Lakes Color Guard. James Stuart McKenzie, 93, arrived at his hunting camp for the last time on August 16, 2017. A son of the Iron Range, he was born in Eveleth to Lee and Mary (Buckley) McKenzie on February 19, 1924. From an early age he hunted and fished at his father's side and displayed an interest and talent for sketching, pen and ink drawing and watercolor painting. He graduated from Virginia High School in 1942 and was enrolled in Virginia Junior College before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1943. He was accepted in the Air Cadet program and was trained in both single and multi-engine aircraft, including the B-17, before being assigned to the 439th Troop Carrier Group as pilot of C-46 transport aircraft. Notable assignments during his wartime service included one as a movie extra in the film "God is my Co-pilot" where he flew a North American T-6 trainer painted to resemble a Japanese Zero, and another role where he served as a pilot-instructor teaching Nationalist Chinese aviators the basics of flying single engine aircraft. After the war, Jim continued his education attending Walker Art school in Minneapolis and UMD, graduating in 1949. While working as a draftsman for the Oliver Iron Mining Co. in Duluth, he met and married Esther Maloney (Griffiths) in 1953. After leaving the Oliver he went on to design and build custom homes in the Duluth area through the 1960s before moving his family to Hoyt Lakes and working for St. Louis County, retiring in 1992 as the Zoning Administrator. A man of many passions and persistent in his pursuit of them, Jim continued to sketch and paint into his retirement. He hunted, fished and maintained his hunting camp in Zim into his late eighties, taking his last deer there at the age of 85. A true sportsman and conservationist, he instilled in his family a love and respect for the wilderness wherever we found it. Jim was a dedicated father and grandfather who always looked out for his family and having experienced lean times of his own, was always kind to those less fortunate. His quiet humor will be missed but his world-famous pancakes will live on (Mother has the recipe). Jim was preceded in death by his parents Lee and Mary McKenzie; brother John (Gerry); sisters Mary Lou (Mark) Duvivier; Katherine (Bryan) Griffiths; Patricia; and granddaughter Emma Stevenson. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Esther; children: Mary (Robert) Edwards; James Patrick (Karla); Shawn (partner Kamie), Tim, Bridget (David) Goette; Bryan (Molly); Megan (Grant) Stevenson; Cathlin (Kenneth) Larsen, and eleven grandchildren. Mere words cannot express the heartfelt gratitude and appreciation our family has for the caring and dedicated staff at the Silver Bay Veterans home. Save for his own home, Jim could not have been in a more loving and caring environment. A special thank you to the wonderful staff at St. Lukes hospice care, and also to Katie Pokorney for opening her heart and home yet again to the McKenzie family.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Mass

Monday, August 21, 2017

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Queen of Peace Catholic Church

Kennedy Memorial Dr, Hoyt Lakes, MN 55750

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