John (Eoin) MacKenzie

Picture of John (Eoin) MacKenzie

December 15, 1935 – March 19, 2020

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John MacKenzie, who died at Health Sciences Centre on Thursday, March 19 at age 84.

He was predeceased by his wife, May; and parents, William and Jessie MacKenzie.

He is survived by his children John (Debbie), Vikki, Shona and Alan (Kathryn); granddaughter Lara, who already misses her pal so much; brother Brian (Joan); nephew Mark (Paula and Aysling); and his close companion Carol. He will also be remembered by the Fraser family and many other friends and relatives in Scotland, as well as the many connections he made in the Winnipeg music community.

John was born on December 15, 1935 in Inverness, Scotland. He started playing music at young age, which led to playing with the Royal Air Force band. While in Scotland he worked at the Tomatin whisky distillery before starting a career in health care. Given limited employment opportunities, he and May moved the family to Selkirk, MB, in 1964. He spent a few more years in health care before becoming a social worker with the City of Winnipeg. After his retirement in 1994, he focused his time on two of his favourite things; his granddaughter and his music, which they also shared together. He played fiddle with Comhaltas Winnipeg, the Southglen Fiddlers and regularly at Folklorama’s Pavilion of Scotland with guitarist Ed Goletzki. Even when his health took a turn last year, he still played as much as he could because it’s “all about the music.” He last performed at a jam night at Sam’s Place on January 31, 2020. The Auld Yin was also known for his great hosting skills (“I’ll pour your first drink, but after that you’re on your own”) and love of Scotch whiskies – which we’ve learned should never be poured with a measure.

The family will hold a private service and a celebration of John’s life will be held at a later date (somewhere with drinks and music).

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.

“Cheers, dad. We love you and miss you already.”

9 Comments

  • Edward Goletski Posted March 27, 2020 7:31 am

    John was a great friend with a cheerful disposition and a love of Scottish music & scotch. We travelled to many gigs and traded many tall tales over the past years from our trips to Fargo , the International Peace Gardens ,theScottish Pavilion and the numerous playouts by the Southglen Fiddlers, John was the kind of guy who always made you feel at ease with his warm demeanour and many stories, Rest In Peace my friend,, Happy Trails.

    • Johnny MacKenzie Posted March 27, 2020 5:19 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Ed, I know my Dad considered you a great friend and enjoyed playing music with you, especially at the Scottish Pavilion.

    • Alan Posted March 28, 2020 11:10 am

      Thanks, Ed! We always enjoyed watching you and our dad play music together.

  • Wanita Mackenzie Posted March 27, 2020 1:24 pm

    Lara, Alan, John, Vikki and Shona,
    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your granda/father was such a kind, generous fun-loving and talented man. He will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathies and condolences to you all.

    • Johnny MacKenzie Posted March 28, 2020 9:23 am

      Thank you Wanita, he was one of the good ones, that’s for sure !!

    • Alan Posted March 28, 2020 11:11 am

      Thank you, Wanita. It’s a tough time, but we have so many great memories to carry us through.

  • Troy Blair Posted March 27, 2020 3:08 pm

    You’re bang on, Ed. John left a fantastic first impression to me with a warm smile and friendly disposition – and what a great fiddle player! I met him just a few years back at Peace Gardens, and not only does he know every tune, but the story behind it too! My only regret is I never met him earlier in life.
    My condolences to the family.
    Let me know if you need a bagpiper for any part of a service. I would be happy to play for John.
    Slainte!

  • Johnny Posted March 28, 2020 9:26 am

    Thank you Troy !! He was a good man, and you’re right about the stories behind the songs, how he remembered all that I don’t know ??

  • Ray. Honeybun Posted March 29, 2020 10:11 am

    On behalf of the SouthGlen Fiddlers i would like to pass on condolences to the Mackenzie family. John will be missed by all in the SouthGlen Fiddlers and especially for his fiddle playing
    and his leadership. John was with the fiddlers for many years. John
    was also our past president of the SouthGlen Fiddlers. Rest in peace my friend. President Ray. Honeybun SouthGlen Fiddlers.

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