Life and Times : Renowned son of St Ann passes

September 30, 2017
Professor Orlando Patterson (centre), speaks with Class of 1948 medical students Owen Minott (left) and Keith McKenzie (right), while Professor Gordon Shirley (second left), principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI); Professor Nigel Harris (second right), UWI vice chancellor and Athelstan Gilbert Bellamy (standing at back), president of the UWI Alumni Association look on during yesterday's UWI service for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its transition from a college of the University of London to the University of the West Indies at the University Chapel, Mona, in 2012.
In this 2012 photo, Dr. Camille Bell-Hutchinson, Campus Registrar greets 1948 student Keith McKenzie.

Jamaica has lost one of its most accomplished son, Dr Keith McKenzie. The renowned paediatrician and cardiologist, who was one of the pioneering core of 33 students who became the first ever undergraduate class at the brand new University College of the West Indies, was buried yesterday.

McKenzie was born on August 9, 1927 in Guy's Hill, St Ann to Arnold Ashbourne McKenzie and Rita Ford. He attended the Lucea Infant School from 1933 to 1934, Morris Knibb Preparatory School in Kingston from 1934-1936, and then won a scholarship to the Wolmer's Boys' School in 1936. That same year he won the Drax Scholarship to Jamaica College, where he studied from 1937-1945, at which time he passed the Cambridge Higher Schools Examination.

Moving into the working world, Keith was a laboratory technician at Government Medical Laboratory in Kingston from 1946 to 1947 before joining the staff of the Kingston Public and Port Antonio hospitals as an X-Ray technician from 1947 to 1948. In 1948, Keith returned to his studies, where he pursed medicine at the University College of the West Indies.

McKenzie has held several high-profile teaching positions in the UWI medical faculty over the years, and also lectured to student nurses.

A devout Anglican, McKenzie offered many years of voluntary service to a wide range of causes, most notably the Church of the Ascension Health Clinic. He was a director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, a member of the Medical Association of Jamaica, past president of the Paediatric Association of Jamaica and a member of the Friends of the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

McKenzie was awarded the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) for his services to medicine and child health. In 1989, he was honoured by the Paediatric Association of Jamaica (of which he was a founding member) for his long and distinguished service to that body and to the children of Jamaica. In 1999, he was given an award for distinguished service to the Caribbean Cardiac Society at its 14th Annual Conference.

Flags were flown at half-mast at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, yesterday, where he was an ardent Taylor Hall supporter.

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