Virginia Belle Cochran McKenzie
Born: January 21, 1936, Pickens County, Georgia (Talking Rock)
Died: October 28, 2019, Sedgwick County, Kansas (Park City/Wichita)
“Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong…”
These oft sung words were favorites of beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and neighbor…our “Ginger”!
Born at home in Pickens County, Georgia, the fourth of five daughters (Amalee, Lillian, Ruth, and Edith) born to Luther Dunn Cochran, and Clara Ophelia Cochran, nee` Young. “Ginger”, or “Ginny”, would be the name family and friends endearingly called Virginia. Curious, outgoing, articulate, capable, musical, athletic, studious, fashionable and artistic, Ginger’s innate giftings were recognized, developed, enjoyed, and awarded during her first 18 years by family, friends, neighbors, teachers, and coaches. Immediately after graduating high school, Ginger moved to join family in Atlanta, Georgia, to pursue a career position that would challenge and reward, while concurrently nurturing the hope of pursuing a degree in journalism. Ginger’s efforts resulted in the position of executive assistant to the president of Coastal States Life Insurance Company. She would retain this position for the next eight years—through her marriage, the birth of her first child, culminating with the birth of her second child, when she dedicated herself to being a full-time wife and mother. Over the next 40 years, Ginger’s working/educational life would consist of several executive assistant positions; pursuing a degree in psychiatric nursing; obtaining a real estate license, and ownership of several entrepreneurial ventures.
In the summer of 1976, Ginger married William “Bill” Martin McKenzie, a British “Renaissance Man”, serving as Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, which necessitated a move across the Atlantic for seven years of travel, adventure, and a complete cultural re-orientation in the context of life in England and Scotland. In the summer of 1983, Bill retired from the Royal Navy, and Bill and Ginger crossed the Atlantic together to make their home in Panama City Beach, Florida, where Ginger’s two older sisters owned homes. For the next 20 years, Ginger would serve as booking agent, bookkeeper and administrative assistant to Captain Bill’s charter fishing boat business, and as owners of McKenzie Marine Maintenance.
During these years, Ginger and Bill were parents to two daughters: Traci Thomas (William) McConnell (Celeste, TX), and Torri Thomas (Charles) DeLong (Wichita, KS). They became proud grandparents to six: John Austin (Katherine) Ramey (Kansas, OK), Chelsea McConnell (Richard) Crawford (Orange Beach, AL), William Christian (Sarah) McConnell (Boerne, TX), Charles Ethan (Lauren) DeLong (Denver, CO), Rachel DeLong (Abel) Parra (Denver, CO), and Wendell Elliot DeLong (Wichita, KS), and ultimately, great-grandparents to ten: (Elijah, Judah, Canaan, Carly, Eva, and Joy Ramey; Caileigh and Catherine Crawford, and Sophia and Isabella Parra). Their growing family enjoyed many years of memories made in the lagoon across from their home, excursions to Shell Island, and St. Andrews State Park, Captain Anderson’s Dolphin Cruises, fishing trips hosted by Papaw “Captain” Bill, dinners at The Mariner Restaurant, and all this peppered by the antics of their three beloved dogs, and a number of delightful neighbors.
Ginger acknowledged her need of a Savior at the age of thirteen, and received Jesus Christ as her Lord, Savior, and Redeemer. Her love for the truth of the Word of God, was apparent to all who knew her. Ginger spent many hours with family and friends, sharing aspects of her deepening relationship with Jesus Christ in whom she trusted to complete the work He began in her, and enable her to finish her race well, with exceeding joy! Her last responses were in thanksgiving to her Shepherd who had faithfully carried her and loved her to the end.
Ginger is survived by her husband; one sister (Edith Powell of Fort Worth, TX); her daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren; numerous beloved nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
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