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Obituary: Mckenzie, David A.

Wed., Oct. 2, 2013, midnight

McKENZIE, David A. David A. McKenzie, a lifelong Spokane resident who considered nearly everyone he met his friend - - and meant it, died Friday, September 27, from complications of a fall and a stroke.

His passing came two weeks after his 65th birthday.

While most friends called him Dave, he encouraged others, including his granddaughter and kids he met, to call him “Duckie.”

When he heard that nickname, he’d respond with his famous mustache-smile and a duck-like “quack, quack.”

That cartoon-sound epitomized his attitude of enjoying life to its fullest — every day — despite hardships and disabilities.

He was born on September 13, 1948, to Bruce and Patricia McKenzie of Spokane, who have both passed.

He attended Ridgeview Elementary, Salk Junior High and was a 1966 graduate of Shadle Park High School.

As a very proud Highlander, he served on the Class of ‘66 Reunion Committee from 1976 until his passing.

He was honorably discharged after serving seven years in the U.S. Army Reserve, handling a variety of jobs.

While living in a rock-music bachelor pad in the early 1970s, he met a young woman, fresh out of nursing school, who lived next door.

He immediately bonded not only with her, but her large family.

On June 19, 1971, at the First Christian Church in Waitsburg, Wash., he married Neta Louise Henze - the charming nurse who grew up there.

To the end, Neta was the love of his life — his companion whose patience only rarely was pushed by his occasional exaggeration or hyperbole, prompting her to exclaim, “Oh, David!”

They happily celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary in June.

Besides his wife and a large circle of friends, David is survived by his sons, Bruce Rapp, of Nolanville, Texas; David A. McKenzie Jr. and his significant other, Betsy DeHaas, of Oceanside, Calif.; and Brian P. McKenzie and his wife, Shanna, and their daughter, Kira, all of Spokane; a brother, Ron McKenzie, his wife, Barb, both of Spokane, and his step-father, Warren Miller, also of Spokane.

Dave followed his father’s footsteps and worked at The Spokesman-Review from 1966 to 1981 - first as a stock clerk in the Purchasing Department, then as a journeyman mailer — bundling and distributing the daily newspaper for delivery.

He was taken ill on his 33rd birthday in what initially was diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis.

Years later, he would learn from medical advances that he actually had suffered a stroke that caused permanent disabilities including weight-gain.

But disabilities and what-life-throws-at-you didn’t stop this guy.

Rebounding and always eager to make new friends, David attended Spokane Falls Community College, graduating in 1986.

From there, he earned a presidential scholarship and attended Whitworth University, graduating in 1989 with a psychology-sociology degree.

He volunteered for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Center Pointe, the Red Cross and later at Cancer Patient Care before being hired there as a social worker.

His empathy and friendship helped countless cancer survivors, and his sometimes-outlandish neckties became legendary.

In January 1997, he began at what would become a 15-year career as a social worker for the Department of Social and Health Services.

He handled child care, teen-living and drug-alcohol assessments, Social Security disability and financial aid.

His approach was that of a friend, not a bureaucrat.

He retired on January 21, 2012.

Still looking for new challenges, he underwent training and became a SCOPE community volunteer for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

He always found time to attend his granddaughter’s soccer games, to hold his favorite miniature schnauzer, Max, and to listen to classic rock and polish a long list of cars, including his 2010 “furious fuchsia” Dodge Challenger which he proudly showed at the Good Guys show in August.

Cars, crowds and Chevy and Dodge muscle cars were in his blood, and he belonged to various car clubs, ever-expanding his circle of friends.

When health issues slowed him, David would change the subject and say his main interests in life were “cars, (well-endowed) women, miniature schnauzers and old rock and roll,” and maybe not in that order.

He even repeated that list to nurses who tended to him during his last 24 days spent in care facilities after a fall at his home.

His family extends special thanks to the staff on 4 South and 5 South at Sacred Heart Medical Center and everyone at Royal Park Care Center as well as Dr. Paul Lin.

We truly appreciate all the great care you gave Dave.

He collected neck ties, ball caps and T-shirts, many symbolizing his love of cars, particularly classic Chevelles, like the one his son, Brian, drew for engraving on a grave marker placed before Dave’s passing.

His family and close friends will gather at that marker in Fairmount Memorial Park for a simple graveside farewell at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 5.

Instead of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Dave’s name to the Spokane Humane Society or Inland Northwest Honor Flight.

Even with an underlying faith in God, Dave didn’t want a funeral and sadness, but a party.

So on Saturday, October 5, a celebration will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Center Pointe, 1408 N. Washington.

Please drive your favorite car in Dave’s memory and remember the resonating opening line of his favorite rock classic: “Louie, Louie.

Me gotta go.”

Goodbye, Duckie.


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