Sister Blandean McKenzie's wake/viewing will take place from 1 to 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 29, in the Jackson – Highly Funeral Home Chapel.
Sister Blandean McKinzie was the third child born to the late John and Maude McCray on Sept. 15, 1935 in Helena.
She confessed hope for Christ at an early age and was baptized in 1981. She was a faithful member of King Solomon M.B. Church and later became an active member of Miracle Temple. There is no doubt that sister Blandean loved the Lord.
She married William "Mojo" McKinzie on Feb. 2, 1962.
Her education and work experience included a daycare in her home at 432 Devilla St, a substitute teacher for Helena- West Helena Public schools, an insurance agent for Universal Life Insurance Co., coordinator for senior citizens of Phillips County and an extraordinary 18 years of service to Mid-Delta Community Service Head Start Program as a teacher.
Sister Blandean attended Arkansas State University in 1978 for her training in early childhood education and in 1985 earned her CDA credentials from the Child Development Associate Credentialing Commission at East Arkansas Community College.
She deeply believed in charity and dedicated countless hours of her time and energy to her community. She is well-known for routinely donating enormous amounts of food and clothing to her community.
In 1975, she received a Certificate of Service from the Helena Community Service Center by Mid Delta Community Services for starting vocational Bible schools in the local parks and churches for children of diverse backgrounds. In 1976, she obtained her "Literacy Tutoring Certificate" and began tutoring children who needed extra attention. One of her most significant accomplishments was designing and implementing the long-standing "Juneteenth" celebration at her church. For several members this was their initial exposure to Juneteenth. This became an annual tradition which continues until this day.
Throughout her life Sister Blandean was recognized with various awards and accolades; most noteworthy was her certificate of appreciation from the NAACP in 1977 where she was recognized for her active support of the association in a time of crisis. She was also recognized by Elder Dears Wright of Chicago Illinois and most recently received a personal letter of gratitude from former First Lady Michelle Obama thanking her for her unwavering support and work in the community.
Sister Blandean is preceded in death by her husband ,William McKinzie, sisters Ellawynne "Ella" Giles and Yvonne "Babe" Austin, a brother Edwin McCray, and a son, Larry Michael.
Sister Blandean leaves to cherish her memory, sons, Derek (Carol), L. Andrew (Margaret) and Mervyn (Kimberly); daughters, Sandra (Leroy), Sharita (Rickey), Regina (Harvey), Millicent (Dennis), and Tamolyn (Leon); a brother, John McCray; an extraordinary number of uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and adoring friends.
Sister Blandean lived, loved, and laughed. She will be remembered as a strong, understanding, kind, and big-hearted "mama," "grandma," "auntie," "cousin," and friend to all who loved her dearly. She loved the Lord and led by example so let her life be your reason to live, give, and love and as she would often say, "Find yourself a good church."
Sister Blandean McKenzie's wake/viewing will take place from 1 to 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 29, in the Jackson – Highly Funeral Home Chapel. Funeral services will be 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 30 at Miracle Revival Temple Church of Deliverance at 229 South Coanza St. Interment will follow immediately in Paradise Cemetery No. 2 at Rondo.
Jackson – Highley Funeral Home is in charge of the services.