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Nira Jean (Swingle) McKenzie was born in New Smyrna Beach, Florida on August 3, 1933. She spent her formative years residing there with her parents Ira and Alpha Swingle.
It was while attending boarding high school at Forest Lake Academy in Forest City, Florida, that Jean met her future husband, James Everett Duke and decided upon her life’s career as an elementary school teacher. After graduating high school, Jean and James were married and moved to Collegedale, Tennessee to attend Southern Missionary College where they both completed their degrees in education. While there, Jean gave birth to their son David. In 1958, the family moved to St. Petersburg, Florida where they began their teaching careers. During that time, they adopted a daughter, Judi. In 1961, they both accepted teaching positions at Forest Lake Elementary school and returned once again to Forest City, Florida where they resided until their divorce in 1972. During those years, Jean completed her Master’s degree in Education at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and continued to follow her life calling of teaching at Forest Lake Elementary School.
Two years later, through mutual friends, Jean was introduced to her second husband, Robert (Bob) McKenzie from Mount Vernon, Ohio when he was visiting family in Florida. After their marriage in 1974, Jean moved to Bob’s home in Mount Vernon and was employed by the Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, teaching at their elementary school on Sychar Road. Bob continued his career as a respected and established builder of custom homes in and around Mount Vernon. Throughout their marriage, Jean and Bob took many opportunities to travel, both in the US and Europe, visiting friends and family along the way. They spent many winter months in New Smyrna Beach, Florida where Jean had grown up, spending beach time with their children and grandchildren.
Jean and Bob were members of the Seventh Day Adventist Hill Church in Mount Vernon, where they both served their church family in many capacities. Jean was well known for her abilities in planning special events and parties for the social committee while Bob would build the props to complete her vision of the event. They also spent time working to assist the staff at the Seventh Day Adventist Academy and elementary school where Jean taught until her retirement.
A wonderful mother, mother-in-law, step-mother and grandmother, Jean brought many opportunities to make unforgettable memories and brought laughter into all family gatherings.
Jean is survived by her husband, Robert (Bob) McKenzie; Son, David (Debi) Duke, Daughter, Judi Duke; Step-daughter, Jennifer (Larry) Cabral; Grandchildren Lauren (Josh) Garrido; Steve (Kelly) Cabral; Chris Cabral and Great-grandchild, Ethan Garrido; and Steve and Kelly’s baby to be born in October.
Jean passed to her rest from cancer on August 7, 2020, looking forward to her Lord and Savior’s return.
There will be a graveside service at Roberts Funeral Home, 18260 Coshocton Road, Mount Vernon, Ohio, on Friday, August 14 at 1:00pm to be officiated by Pastors Lou Toscano and Chuck Gadway. Burial will be at the Mount Vernon Memorial Gardens. Online tributes may be made at www.RobertsFuneralHome.com . Memorial contributions may be made to Mount Vernon Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church 535 Wooster Road, Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050.
Friday, August 14, 2020
Starts at 1:00pm (Eastern time)
Roberts Funeral Home - Sherwood Chapel
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