John G. MacKenzie of Alstead, New Hampshire, died peacefully at home attended by his family and his cat, Messin, on September 12, 2020.

John was born on March 16, 1927 in Millbrook, New York to Dr. E. Gordon and Alice Caine MacKenzie. He is survived by his older brother, Gordon C. MacKenzie.

John attended the Millbrook School for Boys where his love for all things outdoors flourished. He worked at the Trevor Zoo and had a strong connection to animals throughout his life. He was a gifted athlete, lettering in football, baseball and hockey. He played hockey into his fifties and mentored countless players of all ages. Millbrook’s annual Alumni Hockey Game is named in his honor.

John served in the Navy in World War II as a medical corpsman in San Francisco. He graduated from Cobleskill Agricultural College. He was the manager of JD Johnson Company Inc., a wholesaler of plumbing and heating supplies, for thirty-five years.

John married Margaret “Marla” Orr on September 2, 1961. He lived to see their 59th anniversary. They had two children in not rapid succession, Sarah “Kinter” in 1962 and Jesse Orr in 1970. He made it to his son’s 50th birthday as well, a week after he told us that would be the day he “dropped dead”. Kinter married Richard Lennon and lives in Walpole, New Hampshire. Jesse married Jessica Moore and lives in Manhattan.

After retiring, John and Marla moved to North Carolina. The Hound Ears Club became John’s new playground, with days spent happily playing golf and improving on nature. He created a rock garden sanctuary on the mountainside above his home and freed the Wautauga River of dead trees with his chainsaw into his seventies.

John was a quiet and unassuming person, except in dress where he was very dapper. He embraced his blessed life. He was a graceful skier and dancer. John loved to fly fish and collect shells and lost golf balls. In his later years, his lifelong passion for watching birds was the only one he could still enjoy.

He will be missed, but Marla, Messin and the birds are in good hands thanks to their wonderful caregivers.

The Foley Funeral Home of Keene, NH is assisting the family with the arrangements. To offer online condolences to the family or to share special memories of John, please visit

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