John MacKenzie with his beloved Angels baseball team. Back row: John MacKenzie

John MacKenzie with his beloved Angels baseball team. Back row: John MacKenzie

John ‘Mauk’ MacKenzie; baseball man

A legend in Kimberley baseball passed away this summer

ANTHONY DRANSFELD

For the Bulletin

250 friends of John MacKenzie came to the Elks Hall in Kimberley two weeks ago to say goodbye to John, who passed away on July 19th.

John “Mauk “ MacKenzie was 83.

A MOMENT IN TIME

First and foremost John was a “baseball man,” falling in love with the game in the autumn of 1941. Young John, who was 9 at the time, had a paper route up in Town site. Just about every house that subscribed to the “ Kimberley News “  had their radios tuned in to the 1941 World Series,  Brooklyn Dodgers versus the New York Yankees. John mentioned to me that  everyone had their windows open (it was a warm night in Kimberley). Young MacKenzie was able to listen to virtually the whole  game on his paper route.

The Dodgers became his team right then and there, a love affair was to last for 74 years (By the way the Yankees took down the Dodgers in five close games) How much did John MacKenzie love baseball? Well for her honeymoon Marilyn got to go to the 1962 World Series in San Fran! (Luckily Marilyn loves baseball herself) In fact her uncle who lived in San Francisco got them tickets to the World Series as a wedding gift. John had a long career with the City of Kimberley, first  as an ice maker at the Curling Rink (54 applied, they chose MacKenzie), and then as  the Manager of Parks and Recreation, when the Kimberley Civic Centre opened  their doors in 1963 or so.  Mauk held that position until his retirement. John   had a real talent for making ice, both for curling and hockey.

In the 1960s Kimberley had two powerhouse Junior Baseball Clubs, the B.P,O,E, Angels skippered by John “Mauk” MacKenzie and  the Tempests, coached by Carlo Johensen, along with two Senior outfits, the Hobos and  the Dynamos. Carlo Johensen still resides in Kimberley, as  do four Tempest baseball players Albert Hoglund (outfielder), Bobby Neale, (1st Base, and pitcher)  Bob “Nizer’ James ( (catcher) and short-stop Danny Sullivan, who barbers locally.

Moving to Kimberley in the summer of 1964, the first adult I met was Baseball Coach John MacKenzie, who. Like everyone in Kimberley , had a nickname or two. John MacKenzie was also called “ Mauck”, and “Mack the Knife,” or just “The Knife”.

MacKenzie’s B.P.O.E. Angels were a formidable Ball club that included John “Joker“ Davis, Jimmy Seredick,  David “Duff” Cupples, (passed), Ron Seredick, (passed), Alan Fabro (passed), Colin Fabro, Billy Shaw, Eric Payne, Danny Calles, Colin Patterson, Sammy Calles ,Jr., Larry Musser Jr,, Van Pratt, Gary Bock, Terry Kinrade, David “Bilco“ Copeland, Greg “Carr“ Coldwell, and myself. John MacKenzie spared no expense when it came to his ballclub, the Angels. We had Major League calibre ball uniforms, and it seemed John and his wife Marilyn were always driving down to Spokane Washington, to pick up Hillerich and Bradsby baseball bats and Rawlings baseballs (bats cost 27 dollars each in the 1960s). Nothing was too good for the B.P.O.E. Angels in Mr MacKenzie’s eyes. Lest I forget John (Mauk) was quite a good athlete in his own right, playing with Eric Bisgrove in B.C. Mens Curling Tournament of Hearts, I believe it was called. Mauk was also a standout soccer player here in Kimberley, in his  youth.

A point of interest, I personally never saw John Mackenzie even once in Cranbrook. He loved Kimberley, shopped in Kimberley, and lived on Rotary Drive. At the end of the day John loved 3 things in life, his wife Marilyn (Kozak), his son  Paul, and BASEBALL.

While most people go to Hawaii for the tropical weather, and the beach and sun, John  MacKenzie spent his winter days going to  University of Hawaii baseball games, usually in time for batting practice and then the Rainbow ball game itself. Whether it was Coronation Park in Kimberley, or Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Spokane Indians or most recently  Hawaii, John just loved to be at the ball park. Pretty much the first thing Mauk MacKenzie said to me in the summer of  1964, was “grab some pine Son”, which, when translated into English, meant you were sitting on the bench.

John MacKenzie once pulled a guy named Bobby Taylor out of the stands, so we could dress nine players and not forfeit the game to our cross town rivals the Tempests. Well, the first ball goes out to right field, where Mauk had positioned Taylor. Bob actually dropped his glove, and then pulled his Angel ball cap from his head and kept running and caught the ball  IN HIS HAT. Even the usually “stoic” John MacKenzie was grinning ear to ear. Carlo was not too pleased as I remember. As for humor,  well, it did not get any funnier when Bilco Copeland, Butch Kek,  Duffy, Puffer, Carr Coldwell and our Coach John MacKenzie were sitting  in the dugout at Coronation Park   “holding court”.     You will be missed John. John MacKenzie is survived by his wife Marilyn (Kozak) and son Paul.