Wanda Mackenzie, mother of Ridgefielder
Wanda Louise Mackenzie, mother of Ridgefielder Anne Giroux, died in her sleep on Saturday, Feb. 13, in Chicago after a long illness. She was 93.
Born on March 8, 1922, in Traverse City, Mich., she was the oldest daughter of Harry and Wanda Klahchefski Perry.
An early feminist, she held jobs throughout her lifetime, finding fulfillment in contributing her energy and administrative talents to the community, as well as taking care of her family. Her driving need for independence and self-reliance defined her life, her daughter Anne said.
She skipped fifth grade in school, studied piano for 10 years, and was a voracious reader. She met Charles William “Mack” Mackenzie at Central Michigan University and they were later married. During World War II, she worked in a position assigning airplane seats to soldiers traveling stateside. Her husband earned a master’s degree in Serbo-Croatian languages at the University of California at Berkeley and served as an Army translator in Europe.
After the war they moved to Grosse Ile, Mich., where they raised a family. She was a teacher in the Southgate school system, later had administrative and managerial jobs for a trade organization and held accounting positions at the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Student Aid Foundation.
An active Democrat, she worked in the Michigan delegation for the George McGovern presidential campaign.
In retirement in Sarasota, Fla., she enjoyed the ocean, the arts, and condominium board politics. She was an avid birder and nature-walker and loved to spot the cranes and herons prowling the Florida glades.
She was preceded in death by her mother and father, her husband and her brother George Perry. She is survived by her brother Harry “Hank” Perry, her sisters, Marion M. “Tink” Chase and Evelyn (Kelly) Emling, her sister-in-law Norma Perry, her daughters, Anne of Ridgefield and Marsha Mackenzie of Chicago, her son-in-law Lewis Check, her granddaughters, Olivia Giroux and Mackenzie Li-Hua Check, and many nieces, nephews, friends, and devoted caregivers.
A private celebration of her life will be held by her family in April in Traverse City.