Who Can Replace Them?

by Suzanne Calvin

McKenzie, Sally Freeman Born September 16, 1928 to Sam and Pearl Freeman of Paris, Texas, Sarah Humphries Freeman McKenzie died Sunday, March 14, 2010 at the age of 81. An only child, Sally graduated from Paris High School in 1945 and was her class Valedictorian. She continued her education at Hockaday Junior College, graduating with honors in 1947, and was awarded a bachelor’s of arts degree in French with the highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1949. She was active in her Father’s retail/whole-sale grocery company in Paris until she sold the business in the early 1950′s. Her fluency in French opened the opportunity of serving Belgium’s Sabena Airlines as their Dallas office manager. During those years, introduced by a mutual friend, Sally met her future husband, William A. McKenzie. They were married in Dallas, Texas on July 17, 1954 and lived in Dallas until her death. She was a committed Christian and a life-long active member of Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Sally always enjoyed being surrounded by family and friends whether at the McKenzie house in Dallas or the family lake house at Lake Texoma where the door was always open. Sally McKenzie was a remarkable woman. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She was an exceptional political, civic, and business leader, who believed in giving back to her community. That exceptional leadership seldom went unrecognized or unappreciated. From 1964 until her recent battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, Sally was involved in every significant Republican campaign at the local, state and national level as a volunteer. President Richard Nixon appointed her to represent Texas on the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Arts at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and her long time friend, President George Hebert Walker Bush, appointed her to the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Military Academy. In that capacity, she was elected Chairperson of the Board of Visitors, the first woman to hold that position. President Bush also asked her to represent the United States as an Alternate Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Vienna Conference. In Dallas and Texas, as chairman or president, she led a number of community organizations including the Junior League of Dallas, Dallas Alumni Chapter of Pi Beta Phi, first woman as president of the Community Council of Greater Dallas, Bradford Hospital Auxiliary (now Children’s Medical Center), Charter 100, Friends of the Dallas Public Library, John S. Bradfield Elementary School PTA, Parents Club of The Hockaday School, YMCA Community Services Board, the John Goodwin Tower Center at SMU, Advisory Board of the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Governor’s Commission on Women, appointed by Governor Bill Clements. She served as an able member and officer of numerous other worthy boards and commissions, including serving as a co-founder of the Dallas Opera Guild and Regional Director and the Secretary of the Association of Junior Leagues, International. For her work on behalf of others, Sally was recognized by Pi Beta Phi with its Community Service and Kyle Leadership Awards and she was a recipient of the Zonta Service Award, the highest women’s award in Dallas for community service and leadership. Sally served as member of the corporate board of directors of Pier One, Inc., Ft. Worth, Texas, as well as an advisory director of the former Texas American Bank -- Prestonwood in Dallas. She served as member of the Southwestern Regional Board of the Metropolitan Opera and served on the selection committee for the White House Fellows. Sally is survived by her husband of 55 years, Bill; her daughter, Martha Freeman McKenzie Hill, and her husband, J. French Hill; her son, Peter Humphries McKenzie and his wife, Helen-Marie Shea McKenzie; and her four grandchildren: Sarah Elizabeth McKenzie Hill; William Payne Hill; Shea Catherine Freeman McKenzie; and, William Michael “Mac” McKenzie. The family would like to thank the devoted care givers for their wonderful assistance over the last several years. A memorial service will be held at Highland Park Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, March 23 at 5:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to the Sally McKenzie and Martha McKenzie Hill Endowed Faculty Fund at The Hockaday School, 11600 Welch Road, Dallas, TX 75229-2999; the Junior League of Dallas, Inc., 8003 Inwood Road, Dallas, Texas, 75209-3335; the Pi Beta Phi Foundation, 1154 Town and Country Drive, Town and Country, Missouri, 63017; Episcopal Collegiate School Foundation, 1701 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201; or Wesley Prep School, Lovers Lane Methodist Church, 9200 Inwood Road, Dallas, Texas, 75220.

The above was taken from the Obituaries of “The Dallas Morning News.”  If you knew Sally and her work in the Dallas Opera Guild, take a moment to sign the online guestbook and let her family and friends know you are thinking of them.

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR, The Dallas Opera

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