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Lonnie McKenzie

Lonnie McKenzie died  at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, on Saturday, July, 19, 2014.

Services will be held Saturday, July 26, from Greater Damascus Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. with interment in Hazlehurst Cemetery.

On September 5, 1934, Lonnie McKenzie, Jr., was born to Lonnie “Dusty” McKenzie, Sr. and Gettie Furnace McKenzie.  He was the third child of nine.

    At an early age, Lonnie joined St. Peter Church and was baptized and confessed his faith in Jesus Christ.  He later renewed his faith and joined St. James Baptist Church with his family.

    Around 13 years old, he began working in retail for Hazlehurst City Merchants, in a time when segregation was still quite prevalent. Lonnie had a great love for sports: basketball, football and especially baseball.  He was a graduate of Parrish High School.

     He served in the U.S. Navy and upon his return resumed working for Hazlehurst City Merchants. Later, Lonnie began working at the City Drug Store, owned and operated by Mr. H. C. Rose, as a clerk and deliveryman. Being light years ahead of his time, Lonnie, was a pioneer and a trailblazer for Civil Rights and Equal Housing Opportunities for the disenfranchised and forgotten/least represented persons. His unbiased nature made him instrumental in opening doors to provide equal access and opportunities for all people. Notably, he assisted with the first voter registration of Blacks/African Americans in Copiah County.

    In the midst of working to better his community, Lonnie was intent on relentlessly pursuing the now love of his life, Lillie V. Johnson.  Lonnie and Lillie V. over came much adversity to begin their married life together and build a life for themselves and their children. Lonnie was a loving and attentive husband and great provider and strict disciplinarian in the rearing of his children. Certain things he just wasn’t going to allow his children to do.  He was always dedicated to his wife and children and wanted the best for his family.  

    While working for Mr. Rose, Lonnie, with the support of community leaders, launched his political career in City Government and made History by becoming one of the first African-Americans elected to the Hazlehurst Board of Aldermen; where he served faithfully, for approximately 25 years.

    He was preceded in death by both parents, four sisters: Patricia, Dorothy Ruth “Dot”, Juanita “Dude” and Helen; One brother: Walter “Booger Man” and one daughter, Angela.

    Lonnie, leaves to cherish his memory and celebrate his legacy, the love of his life, his loving wife, Lille V.; two sons: Pat and Richard Anthony, both of Hazlehurst, MS; two daughters: Shearrin of Centerville, VA and Lisa LaVerne of Hazlehurst, MS; two Brothers: Edward “Beeb” (Mildred “Ann”) and Jerry, both of Hazlehurst, MS; and Myra Rose Bradfield of Mound Bayou, MS.; Five Grandchildren: Teresa, Richard II, Keisha, Kayla and “Pa’s Boy” Jordan.; 5 nieces, 6 nephews; his best friend, James T. Hill, special friends Carroll Hood and Henry C. Banks. And, a host of grand nieces and grand nephews, relatives, friends and constituents of the City, State, and Country that he loved.

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