David Allen McKenzie, Jr., 41, a former resident of Deer Park, Spokane and Pullman — with legions of friends — ended his life on Oct. 20, 2014, when he walked in front of a commuter train in Encinitas, Calif., not far from his new home in Oceanside. He was a 1991 graduate of Deer Park High School.
Despite his almost-constant smile and emphasis on upbeat support for others, Dave had an underside he didn’t widely share. He battled depression and a nutritional digestive disorder. He also was a recovering alcoholic with 14 years of sobriety. Compounding those issues, he struggled with the recent losses of his maternal grandmother, his father, David McKenzie Sr., and a police officer-friend who also battled depression and took his life.
Dave and his life-companion, Betsy DeHaas, and their beloved cat, “Princess V,” moved to Oceanside in 2013 so she could pursue a career in teaching Spanish after earning her master’s degree at Washington State University.
At the time of his death, he was studying to be a gemologist while working at a pawn shop. Those who met Dave knew he was a natural salesman — someone who could easily talk with strangers or old friends. Like his late father, DJ loved wearing neckties, a practice he began in junior high.
While living in Spokane, Dave was an instructor for the NxLevel Education Foundation and served two years as president of the Spokane chapter of SCORE. He was also committed to serving through both the Spokane and Spokane Valley chambers of commerce and served on the board of St. Joseph’s Family Center.
Dave loved muscle cars, redheads, business and all things techie.
He will be terribly missed by many, including survivors, his beloved, Betsy, in Oceanside; his mother, Neta McKenzie, of Spokane; brothers, Bruce Rapp, of Liberty Lake, Wash., and Brian McKenzie, his wife, Shanna, and their daughter, Kira, all of Spokane.
A service was held in Oceanside. A second service will be held at 2 p.m. on Nov. 8, at Westminster United Church of Christ, 411 S. Washington, in Spokane. His mother says, “Bring your cars if you can, and everybody please wear a tie.”
A Dave McKenzie Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank will forward donations to his favorite charities.
His companion, Betsy, leaves this message: “While many may question the selfishness of his choice, I encourage you to look beyond, seek eternal perspective and your own personal closure.”
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