Yvonne Vera Douglas, nee McKenzie, of Strathmore, Alberta passed peacefully the afternoon of Friday, January 30, 2015. One week later a memorial service was held at the Strathmore United Church followed by a reception at the Strathmore Legion. Both events were well attended by friends and family from across Canada. Here are some family pictures from the reception:

Front: daughter Marcia & her husband Mike
Back: their daughter Teren & her partner Duncan

Son Murray & his wife Marilyn


Back: Murray & Marilyn's son Steven & his partner Julie
Front: their children Joel & Jessica


Murray & Marilyn's son Layne with his wife Cathy & daughters Audrey in red & Ella in green 

Murray & Marilyn's daughter Alecia & her partner Adrian 

Son James, his daughter Cayla, his wife Chris, his daughter Keanna & her fiancé Josh 


Yvonne's 3 children with 3 of the McKenzie clan, left to right: 

Cherie McKenzie, James, Yvonne`s sister-in-law Helen McKenzie (Cherie's mother) 
Marcia, Murray, & Sandra Epp (Yvonne`s sister) 


 Uncle Murray Douglas from Montreal & namesake Murray Douglas

 Uncle Murray and Aunt Sandy

Sisters Cayla & Keanne up close and personal



DOUGLAS, Yvonne Vera (nee McKenzie)

October 21, 1929 – January 30, 2015

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Mrs. Yvonne Douglas of Strathmore, Alberta at the age of 85 years. Yvonne passed away peacefully at the Strathmore Hospital with loving family by her side. 

Yvonne was predeceased by her husband Elmer in 2004 as well as her three brothers, Peter, Bruce, and Rowland. She is survived by one sister, Sandra Epp of Surrey, B.C.; sons Murray (Marilyn) of Calgary and James (Chris) of Chestermere; daughter Marcia Gutsfeld (Mike) of Strathmore; six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Yvonne was born in Lethbridge, Alberta and spent most of her life on the family farm near Gleichen, Alberta, contributing to the farming lifestyle as well as to the rural community. Always willing to do whatever it took, she also waited tables at Wilsons Coffee Shop over several years and spent twenty-five years as an on-call matron for the Gleichen RCMP detachment. 

She will always be remembered for her love of cats, her willingness to converse with anyone, and her pleasant, but always determined, nature. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made directly to the Alzheimer Society of Calgary (201, 222-58 Ave. S.W., Calgary, T2H 2S3) or the Strathmore Hospital (200 Brent Blvd., Strathmore, T1P 1J9).


Some McKenzie history by brother-in-law Murray Douglas

My visit with Yvonne in November 2008 was the most fascinating I ever had.  For the first time she showed me intriguing documents from her grandfather - his BA & MA diplomas from from my Alma mater Queen's University! These dated from circa 1885 (around the time my parents were born). I was surprised to see that, in those days, each Queen's diploma was signed by the Principal and each of the student’s profs, several of whom were accomplished people in their field.

The 3rd document was a handwritten letter, on Queen's stationary, from the Principal of Queen's, written to Yvonne’s grandfather at the time he was completing his MA. The Principal then was perhaps the most famous Principal that Queen's ever had - George Grant. The subsequently built 'Grant Hall', a beautiful building for its architecture, is the signature building on the Queen’s campus, still used on many occasions. George Grant was a long-time Principal who really put this young university on its way. As a Queen's student I went to many dances in Grant Hall, wrote many exams in Grant Hall, and I graduated on May 15, 1948 in Grant Hall.

This letter by Principal George Grant to Yvonne’s grandfather was clearly in response to her grandfather having discussed with him what to do after receiving his MA. It was a long letter, 2 or 3 pages as I recall, in which Principal Grant discussed the possibility that Yvonne's grandfather was considering, which was to go to Law School. Interestingly, amusingly, Principal Grant recommended that he not do this because, he claimed, "Law was getting too crowded"!

Instead, Principal Grant recommended to Yvonne’s grandfather that teaching was more satisfying career than law.

Yvonne's grandfather was a very influential person in the development of the Alberta region of the NWT before Alberta was established in 1905. 

P.S. The 500 foot long McKenzie railroad bridge across Oldman River in Fort Macleod, Alberta bears his name.

Yvonne married Elmer November 5, 1948

Elmer & Yvonne in 1997