Evelyn McKenzie – a life of generosity and love of teaching

Evelyn McKenzie was known to her children as a ‘fun mom’ — warm, loving, kind and jovial — a good reflection of the family she herself was raised in. Evelyn and her husband Ken moved to Cloverdale from Saskatchewan, and Evelyn continued her teaching career that had been launched in a one- room prairie school. Evelyn made sure that each and every child she taught felt special, and in later years former students were known to acknowledge her with appreciation… “Mrs. McKenzie? Do you remember me? You were my Grade 1 teacher!”

Both she and Ken valued education and saw this as a priority for each of their own children. They believed in doing whatever it took to help their children gain an education, since education is the key to having a means of financial support and independence.

For Evelyn, this meant balancing the practicalities of daily living with her fundamental beliefs. Chores in the household were always followed by reading together. Ever the teacher at heart, Evelyn brought home books from the library each week, and was always ready to be sitting on the floor with a good age-appropriate book for each of her children. They could all read before they entered school.

Evelyn’s years as a teacher were highlighted with her special drawings created as teaching aids — always something unique for days such as Valentine’s, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. To Evelyn, life was not in the accumulation of ‘stuff’ but in the gathering of rich, meaningful experiences with family, friends, and students.

As one of life’s natural givers, Evelyn’s legacy continues to give to the students of UFV’s Teacher Education program. Two awards help students reach their goals of becoming a teacher, by recognizing both gifted teaching ability and financial need. Daughters Bonnie, Heather, and Jean are thrilled that these awards will make a positive and encouraging difference in the lives of students enrolled in the Teacher Education program.

Evelyn’s legacy was established through life insurance policies. Life insurance is a simple way in which to plan one’s giving, and various options, such as designating the university as owner and beneficiary, can save taxes today, during one’s life, and upon passing. Existing or new insurance policies may be donated for relatively little or no cash outlay, yet the impact upon students’ lives (and consequently the communities they serve) can be significant.

Please consider your legacy gift today, through life insurance. Students need scholarships, bursaries and up-to-date equipment and learning tools to be the best at their chosen field — perhaps they will be the next teacher, nurse, or biologist that serves you and your family.

This article is featured in the Spring 2012 issue of UFV Skookum magazine.

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