BY JOE B. COATES
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Lonnie McKenzie this past Tuesday. Lonnie served as Ward 3 Alderman in Hazlehurst for many years during a time of transition in the city.
I didn’t know Lonnie personally until after I moved back to Hazlehurst in 1996 to begin working at the paper. Soon after coming back here, I got the opportunity to attend and cover a few Hazlehurst city board meetings for the Courier. My first impression of Lonnie was that he was a good public servant and passionate representative of the residents and stakeholders, not only in Ward 3, but also of the entire city of Hazlehurst.
After getting to know him bit by bit over the years, I gleaned that Lonnie was good man who enjoyed talking about his family, his community and his views on topics that affected the people of Hazlehurst. He truly cared about the future of the town and the school district. And, he could get extremely fired up over some of the issues.
Lonnie connected with me on another level over his love for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Without fail, every time we bumped into each other, he would ask me, “What about them ‘Dawgs? How we gonna do this football/basketball/baseball season?” My standard reply was, “You know how they are, and you can never say for sure what they’re gonna do.” (He and I both never could understand how former MSU head football coach Jackie Sherrill allowed the Bulldogs to go from SEC West champs in 1998 to the worst team in the conference over a period of about 4 years. We talked about it for years.)
Our hearts and prayers go out to the members of the McKenzie family. I will miss seeing Lonnie around town, seeing his smle and hearing what he has to say about things. We lost a good one this week.