Master Chief Alvin Edward McKenzie was born March 15, 1943 to the late Lawrence and Hattie McKenzie in Camden, AR, the seventh child of nine children they raised.
Master Chief McKenzie received his early education in Camden and in 1962, he received his high school diploma, graduating from Union Grove High School.
Master Chief being a curious man, wanting to discover what the world had to offer outside of Camden, enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 1962, where he reported to the Recruit Training Command in San Diego, CA. Upon successful completion of recruit training, Master Chief returned to his reserve unit until 1964, where he enlisted in the full service of the United States Navy, assigned to the USS James C. Owens Command Group, in Charleston, SC.
While residing in Charleston, building what would become a very decorated military career, Master Chief met Miss Jametta Yvonne Johnson, a beautiful young woman, whom he married in 1968. Master Chief and Jametta were married for 53 years and together during their union they successfully raised four incredible sons, Shelton, Derrick, Duane and Torrey.
Master Chief traveled the world, visiting many seaports and duty stations throughout his career, often with his family and sometimes without, when his wife Jametta was left in command of all the family’s affairs, including raising their children.
During the ensuing 26 years between 1964 and 1990, Master Chief advanced through the enlisted ranks to achieve the decorated rank of Master Chief Ship’s Serviceman and served afloat and ashore on many Command Groups to include: Naval Station Charleston; USS James C. Owens (DD-776) Home Port (HP) Charleston, USS Constellation; HP San Diego, CA; Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, D.C.; Branch Manager Navy Exchange, Naval Air Station, Taichung, Taiwan; Club Manager Naval Air Station, Chase Field, Beeville, TX; Branch Manager Navy Exchange, Naval Communication Station, Fort Allen, Puerto Rico; Branch Manager Navy Exchange, Naval Hospital, Beaufort, SC; USS Peleliu LHA-5; HP Long Beach, CA; and finally, he served as the Branch Manager Commissary Store, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FL, where he would retire as Master Chief with honors and full decorations.
Master Chief achieved many of his goals in life, with the most cherished goal, being a great father and husband to his family. Master Chief was also a man who was proud to serve his country, and even more proud to do it as a U.S. Navy Sailor, who amassed a plethora of decorations and achievement awards to include the Navy Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Award (six times), Humanitarian Service Medal (three times), Sea Service Ribbons, Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Medal, Gallantry Cross Ribbon (Vietnam) and a Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device.
Master Chief received a retirement ceremony on May 25, 1990 at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville, commemorating 26 years of service to his country.
Master Chief, who was not finished giving back and supporting the Navy community, was sought out by Kraft Foods, where he worked from 1990 to 2010, amassing another decorated career and retirement, to represent their product line at Naval Commissaries throughout the region.
One might say, with two retirements, what did Mack do for leisure? “Mack,” for those of you who do not know, is what his shipmates and colleagues called him.
Master Chief enjoyed spending time with his family, taking them on many vacations and holidays throughout the U.S. Master Chief grew up outdoors, so naturally he gravitated to outdoor activities. Master Chief enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren. He also had a love for all of his children’s friends and families. On many occasions, he would make sure some of the less fortunate friends of his children could experience the same joys and activities of his children, going as far as enrolling them in sports and recreational activities. Master Chief was a very giving man and wanted all those around him to be successful, no matter what their dreams and aspirations were in life.
He was an avid bowler, so much so, he made sure he had the entire bowling ensemble to include his personal bowling ball, bag and bowling accessories. When Mack started something, he maxed it out. Master Chief loved fishing and working in the backyard and was an excellent cook on the grill. Ask anyone who has ever tried his ribs and they would tell you, they were the best they ever tasted.
Master Chief was full of worldly knowledge that he would share with his sons regularly, even if they didn’t want to hear it. He passed along a lifetime of lessons learned and excellent advice to his children. Alvin’s metal was battle tested and proof positive; he maintained a warrior mentality.
Master Chief was preceded in death by five brothers and two sisters; L.C. McKenzie, Earl McKenzie, Henry McKenzie, Albert McKenzie, Doriel McKenzie, Burnell Van Slyke and Mary Thompson.
Master Chief leaves to cherish his precious memories, a loving and devoted wife, Jametta Yvonne McKenzie; his caring sister, Birdell King of Camden, AR, four sons; Shelton McKenzie and his fiancée, Magdelena of Kissimmee, FL, Derrick McKenzie (April) of Jacksonville, FL; Duane McKenzie (Michelle) of Orange Park, FL, and Torrey McKenzie of Jacksonville, FL.
In addition, Master Chief will be deeply missed by his 12 grandchildren, Brandon McKenzie, Devon McKenzie, Matthew McKenzie, Austin McKenzie, Aaron Jones, Derrick McKenzie, Jr., Ashley McKenzie, Taylor McKenzie, Janelle McKenzie, Anyzha McKenzie, Destiny McKenzie and Akira McKenzie; and two great-grandchildren, Cadence McKenzie and Calem McKenzie.
Master Chief Alvin Edward McKenzie also leaves two sisters-in-law, Rosalind Pruett and Jean Gibson; his nieces and nephews, cousins and a host of other relatives and friends.
A visitation will be held Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. followed by a funeral service at 3:00 p.m., both at Aaron and Burney Bivens Funeral Home, 529 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park, Florida 32073.
Master Chief Alvin Edward McKenzie will be laid to rest with military honors Monday, November 8, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Jacksonville National Cemetery, 4083 Lannie Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32218.
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