Keith Wilbur McKenzie

May 26, 1939 - October 23, 2023
Keith Wilbur McKenzie

Memorial Gifts & Donations

Keith Wilbur McKenzie, 84 of Wilmington, NC, was called home by his Saviour, Jesus Christ, on Tuesday October 23, 2023. Keith was known as a man of integrity, who left an indelible mark on all who knew him. Keith, as he was affectionately known, was born on May 26, 1939, in Stockton, CA, where he began his journey through a life filled with love and the sweet sounds of jazz.

Keith’s professional journey started humbly at Union Carbide, where he worked as a groundskeeper. But his determination and hard work propelled him to become an Operations Manager, proving hard work and determination can lead to success. After retiring from Merritt Holland in Wilmington, NC, Keith charted a new path as the founder of Wilmington Cryotech, a renowned industrial gas consulting group. He shared his expertise not only locally with Corning but also in various foreign countries, leaving his mark wherever he went.

Beyond his successful career, Keith had an undeniable passion for jazz. With his baritone saxophone in hand, he composed and arranged numerous compositions, delighting audiences near and far. You could often find him entertaining the local crowds as a cherished member of the band, Artistry In Jazz. Keith served his community with performances that brought joy to many even those at local senior care centers, his musical talents blessed the Praise Band at Southside Baptist Church where he loyally served as deacon.

Never one to conform, Keith once claimed he would never be a “business executive golfer.” Yet, he found himself perfecting his swing as a member of local golf clubs.

Keith’s journey in life was enriched by the love and support of his family. He is survived by his devoted wife of 65 years, Oval Lee McKenzie, and their four daughters: Kim Davis, Kathi Bennett, Karen Rasmussen and husband Mark, and Kris Todd and husband Wes, sisters Betty Swanson and Patty Campbell. Keith’s legacy continues through his cherished grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who will forever remember his warmth, humor, and unwavering love.

In honoring Keith’s memory, funeral services will be held on Thursday October 26, 2023, 12 noon, at Oleander Memorial Gardens Mausoleum.

Keith, your vibrant spirit will continue to resonate within our hearts. Your love for jazz, golf, and community service reminds us to embrace every moment, follow our passions, and leave a lasting impact on this world. May you rest in harmony, forever playing the sweet melodies of life.

The family kindly requests that memorial contributions be made to Southside Baptist Church, where Keith found solace and inspiration throughout his life.

Rest in peace, Keith.

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  • October 28, 2023
    Jerry Tate says:
    October 28, 2023 Jerry & Linda Tate June 9, 2010 - Feb. 4, 2023, Artistry In Jazz says: Keith was the first professional musician to become a member. Contributed greatly to the setup for concerts, Oval Lee and Daughters alternated in operating the soundboard and helping with setup. A Blessed Christian Family, Always helping others. Rest In Peace, Keith Looking forward to joining you in Our Savior's Time

  • October 26, 2023
    Kathi Bennett says:
    Today I had to let my dad go with tears and singing rejoice and songs he was there when I had my first step he was there to teach me he was there there before I met Jesus he was there when I graduated from high school he was there to walk me down the aisle to marry my husband he was there when when my husband passed away he was around when I ended up living alone and I'm sure he was proud but most of all I am so proud to be his daughter that God gave me my dad he is my hero he is my memory rest in peace Daddy cuz Jesus has gained a wonderful man of God my music man

  • October 26, 2023
    Juliann Knott sax artistry in jazz says:
    Keith was a great man and mentour as I learned tips to play better baritone sax from him. Humble, mild spoken and always encouraging man. We miss you and all your music here. God will have a new member in heavenly praise.

  • October 25, 2023
    LaVonne Vogt says:
    Keith, the Southside Baptist Praise Band will always miss your contribution. Your presence was often quiet, yet when you played, your sax elevated the song. We are all sure you are already enjoying playing music in Heaven.