A true Lawrence Countian: Effie McKenzie

Published 10:07 am Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Effie McKenzie — mother, volunteer, and educator —­ was born to Forrest and Lina Hankins Dalton.

She grew up with four siblings — Alvin (Shorty), Dorothy, Faye, and Forrest (Buddy). Effie is the mother of one daughter, Janet McKenzie.

I remember Effie coming to Dawson-Bryant High School in 1963 and thinking she was a little older than most first year teachers.

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I later learned she had worked at both Citizens Bank and First National Bank in Ironton for many years. At some point, Effie decided to better her situation and enrolled at then Ohio University, Ironton Branch.

After completing three years locally, she enrolled at the Athens campus to complete a degree in English. Effie would later earn a master’s degree in government and special education.

So who was this new teacher? Her daughter, Janet, was a member of my graduating class. I came to find out that Effie was a hard working, dedicated teacher, who expected her students to work just as hard, and was fair to everyone. In later years, I learned that you always knew where Effie stood on any issue or topic. She is to this day, not one to “straddle the fence.”

Unfortunately for the students at Dawson-Bryant, Effie suffered a disabilitating injury in 1979. Doctors said she would never walk again, but she proved them wrong.

So Effie was now in early retirement. No, not really. She became a volunteer for our community.

As a charter member of the Coal Grove Betterment Club, she served many years as its treasurer. She would hold the same position in the Ohio Retired Teachers Association, Lawrence County chapter.

She was more often than not ORTA’s representative to ORTA State Conferences. She is active in both the OEA and NEA. The American University Women’s club next beckoned.

Once again, Effie was elected treasurer. She is also an active member in AARP. If you need help or advice, Effie is always there to listen. Oh, did I mention that even now in her 80s, she is still active in all the above clubs?

Effie has been a member of Jeffersonville Missionary Baptist Church for more than 70 years. She is a member of the Church Fellowship Club. She enjoys sending cards to the sick and homebound.

Effie’s daughter and my classmate, Janet, is now retired, living in Bethany Beach, Del.

She was a lobbyist for the Edison Electrical Institute. Janet furnished all the personal information necessary for this article.

In conclusion, mother, volunteer, and teacher, Effie McKenzie, exemplifies what it means to be a true Lawrence Countian.

Mike Nourse is a retired educator and contributing columnist for The Tribune. He lives in Coal Grove with wife Clara Gail, also a retired educator.