September 6, 1974 ~ April 26, 2019
Michelle Dee McKenzie, 44, unexpectedly passed away on April 26, 2019, at home in North Ogden, Utah. Born September 6, 1974 in Preston, Idaho, to Michael Edgar McKenzie and DeAnne Gailey Hess she was the oldest of five children. Nobody was more excited to welcome this blonde, blue eyed “little beauty” than her beloved Grandmother, Wanda McKenzie. She finally had the little girl she had longed for, for 60 years, living right across the street from “Grammi” was magical for both of them.
Before she started school, the family moved to a new home they built in Weston, Idaho. Michelle attended Weston Elementary until the 5th grade, when she moved to Davis County, Utah. Michelle cherished friendships her entire life, and maintained many of the friendships she established during her time in Weston.
Michelle attended the remainder of her primary education in the Davis County School District, and graduated from Layton High School in 1992.
The summer after graduation, she set out for an adventure and landed in Boston Massachusetts, where she worked as a Nanny for Eric and Suzy Whetlaufer. She loved everything about the big city and adored the Whetlaufer family. She often referred to her time in Boston as one of her most favorite and happiest times of her life. She maintained a close relationship with Suzy and her children for the remainder of her life.
After returning from Boston, she continued her employment as a Nanny working for Dr. Bryson and Hilla Smith for two years, and loved the Smith children as though they were her own.
On October 18, 1996, Michelle welcomed her only child, a son, Mason Micheal McKenzie. He became the center of her Universe, and everything she did from that day forward, was with his best interest always her first consideration.
Michelle attended Weber State University, while working in the admissions office. She was always a brilliant student and took every opportunity to further her education. She spent several years working in the education system, helping to start up the Maria Montessori Charter School in North Ogden, Utah. She seemed happiest when surrounded by children, and after a short stint working at Academica West, the management company for the local Charter Schools, she helped to open another Charter School, Ascent Academy, in West Farmington. In May of 2008, Michelle proudly celebrated Mason’s graduation from Layton High School. Having raised him while a single mother, she placed great emphasis on his education. She was so proud of the outstanding student he had been and although he dealt with significant disabilities he Aced his ACT’s and graduated with honors.
In 2017, Michelle met and married the love of her life, Richard (Rick) Lopez and together they lived in North Ogden, Utah. Michelle loved North Ogden and lived there the majority of her adult life. Rick passed away unexpectedly in October of 2018, leaving her shattered.
Michelle’s kind and loving heart drew people to her. Always looking out for someone who needed a hand up, no matter how meager her means. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, Michelle organized her close friends, and together, they made sure someone in need enjoyed delicious dinner and a Christmas morning filled with an abundance of gifts for everyone, as well as food to prepare a Christmas dinner. She was a living example of generosity and kindness. She always cheered for the underdog, and genuinely celebrated the accomplishments of others. At the time of her death, Michelle was employed at AAA in Clearfield, Utah, where she had made lasting relationships and many friends who were more like family.
Michelle is survived by her son Mason, of Hooper, Utah, her mother DeAnne Hess of Layton, and her biological father, Michael McKenzie, Preston, Idaho, brother Jeff McKenzie, sister Lisa Lancaster, Roy, Utah, and brothers Tyler (Brittany) Hess, Layton, Utah, Brian (Melanie) McKenzie, Kaysville, Utah., as well as dozens of nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and her beloved friends Laura Weaver and Teresa Branham, who have welcomed her son Mason into their home and family.
She was preceded in death by her “Best Friend” and Grandmother Wanda McKenzie, Grandpa F. Duane McKenzie, Grandfather Bert Wendell Gailey and Grandmother Riva Gailey, and most recently, the man who loved and raised her as his own, Her Father Micheal C. Hess.
Friends and family are invited to join together in “A Celebration of Her Life”, on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at 11:00 a.m., at Lindquist’s Layton Mortuary, 1867 North Fairfield Road, Layton, Utah.
In Lieu of flowers Mason requests donations be made to the National Institute of Health, Mood Disorder Clinic, in Bethesda Maryland.