Lynn McKenzie: Grateful ASHEC Donor

Posted: Mar 14, 2023

Lynn McKenzie has traveled down many paths in her life’s journey: Accomplished equestrian, avid cook, devoted mother, skillful gardener, patron of the arts, and supporter of non-profit organizations. There is one path Lynn encountered in 1990 that made a big difference in that journey.

At the time, she and husband Tom lived in Navarre Beach close to the emerald waters of the Gulf, when they decided they wanted another house. So they opted to make use of a lot purchased from the St. Joe Company to build a new home. Lynn returned to the residence they owned in Tallahassee, where she began working on their beach house plans - only to discover she was a “first-rate” architect! With her own drafting board, she designed the lighting system for the home to be constructed. When she gave it to the location architect, he exclaimed, “You just caused us to change our whole electrical planning system,” to their benefit. She used her new-found talent to help build and design three major homes, also renovating many more, explaining, “We always had a house here and a house there, one in Key West, houses on the bay and on the rivers, because we loved being on the water.”

Lynn grew up in Swansboro, Georgia. She attended Florida State University, and while living in Tallahassee, was introduced to Tom McKenzie, whom she married a year later They moved to Pensacola, where her husband worked for the family business and their son Edson was born. Lynn confesses that she “fell in love” with the area, which led to the acquisition of a boat and a passion for deep sea sport fishing.

Years later, when they were living in the beach house Lynn participated in designing, Tom’s health began to fail. He was often a patient at Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast Hospital, or in rehabilitation, during the decade she cared for him.

When Assisted Living and Memory Care became necessary for Tom, Lynn decided to sell their beach home and buy another residence closer to his location, making it easier to visit. But shortly after she acquired a house in Miramar Beach, Tom passed away. Lynn confesses she didn’t know a soul in the area she moved to, but soon discovered she was blessed with wonderful neighbors who became close friends. The “Gang of Ten”, as they became known, continues to enjoy many social activities together.

Lynn recently contributed a substantial donation to Ascension Sacred Emerald Coast Hospital, where she had “wonderful service and really good care” when she underwent emergency surgery and spent ten days there. But that is not the only reason for her gift. She supports the hospital because its presence is vital to the community. She encourages friends to contribute and help sustain the hospital, since it is the area’s single source of outstanding healthcare services for all its residents, turning no one in need away. She believes, “When you have a good hospital, you have a good community.”