Thomas Cecil McKenzie of Austin passed away the morning of May 29, 2008. Thomas was born Feb. 20, 1923 to Kenneth Alexander McKenzie and Mollie Augusta Haster McKenzie. The McKenzie family came from the Driftwood Community. He started school at Mt. Gainor and was driven by bus driver Charlie McKenzie, his brother. Thomas completed his schooling in Blanco where he graduated in 1942.
London, England was where Corporal Thomas McKenzie served his country
during World War II. He was in the 27th Station complement Squadron attached to the 8th Air Force. His brothers Maurice and Charlie also served during the war and Charlie died in the line of duty in 1942.
He retired from the University of Texas Library Stenographic Bureau after 31 years of service and traveled to Alaska, Hawaii, Branson Missouri, and England where he was able to visit friends he had made during the war. He loved to see relatives and friends and took special care to visit during his travels. He always had his camera and took pictures of everyone and sent copies when he got back home.
He was a charter member of the Driftwood Baptist Church, was baptized in Onion Creek and trusted his Lord all the days of his life. Thomas was involved in the preparation of the church to build at its new location and was instrumental in and supported the building of the McKenzie Prayer Garden as well as the many other projects for the new location. Thomas’ heart of giving touched so many people’s lives including strangers who needed help.
Thomas was loved by so many as he took the old fashion way of visiting and writing letters to stay in touch. At Christmas Thomas managed to send cards to all those he had kept up with through the years. Some of those friends were from his days of dances at Anhault and in New Braunfels, others were from the Senior Citizen group on South First as well as those he had worked with through the years.
He took the time consuming task to keep the Peal Family Reunion going at the Ben McCullough Confederate Camp Grounds. He was proud of his family heritage and contributed to the book The Immigrant John Peal by providing photos, stories, and family information. He kept wonderful records on cousins and was instrumental in tracking over 200 cousins for an estate distribution.
His beloved sister Lila Belle McKenzie Puryear and her husband Gordy James Puryear were a big part of Thomas’ life as he lived with them for 12 years until he purchased his own home. He called Lila every night to see how her day was and to wish her a good night.
Thomas loved his yard and garden and worked in it keeping many different kinds of flowers and plants. He could remember every plant someone had given him. He would work entire days in the yard with his chickens and cat following him.
The last two months Thomas has been in the hospital and rehab as he was hit by a car as he walked to McDonald’s on March 12th. He leaves a legacy for all to follow to care about one another, visit often, and to share the gifts that God has given with others.
Preceding Thomas in death were his parents Kenneth and Mollie McKenzie (daughter of Charles Haster and Martha Jane Peal Haster), his two brothers: Maurice Alexander McKenzie (Company D64 Armored Infantry Battalion) and Charlie Donald McKenzie (36th Infantry Division).
He is survived by his sister Lila Belle McKenzie Puryear, niece Merilyn Mae Puryear King and husband Kenneth, niece Mary Jane Puryear Ermis and husband Eddie, and nephew Kenneth Gordon Puryear and wife Mary.
Also surviving are three great nieces Kristen Lee Ermis, Kelli Jane Ermis, Julie Ann Ermis Briggs and husband Russell, and one great great niece Annabel McKenzie Briggs and first cousins, Delores Conn, Willie Mae Hayden, Opal Jones, and Weldon Whisenant.
Special thanks to Merilyn Puryear King for her service and love.
Services as follows:
Visitation Service Scheduled for 6:00 – 8:00 pm Saturday, June 7th, 2008 at Harrell’s Funeral Home at 4435 Frontier Drive, Austin, Texas 78745.
Funeral Services will be held at the McKenzie Prayer Garden at the Baptist Church of Driftwood, 13540 FM 150W, Driftwood at 10:00 am on Sunday June 8th, 2008 with burial at the Phillips Cemetery in Dripping Springs Intersection of RR 12 and FM 150.
If desired, Remembrance Flowers will be accepted at Harrell’s Funeral Home and the Baptist Church of Driftwood, will accept donations for the McKenzie Prayer Garden, P.O. Box 205 Driftwood, Texas 78619.