Biography of William Hunter McKenzie
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William Hunter McKenzie has found his work in the business administration of gas companies, and since 1905 had held the responsibilities of general manager of the Wyandotte County Company of Kansas City, Kansas.
It was a boyhood experience while in a state institution in Ohio that gave him the permanent bent of a vocational experience. Mr. McKenzie was born in Harrisonville, Ohio, November 15, 1862, one of the four children of James T. and Mary C. (Hoover) McKenzie, both also natives of Ohio and of Scotch and Dutch extraction. James T. McKenzie was a cabinet maker by trade. At the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted in Company G of the One Hundred and Sixteenth Ohio Infantry and served as a sergeant through all the campaigns in the South. Near the close of the war, worn out with hardships and his arduous service, he died in a hospital at Baltimore.
Thus William H. McKenzie practically never had a father’s care. He and his brothers and sisters and their widowed mother lived together until the State of Ohio established its Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Home at Xenia. William H. entered that home at the age of ten years and remained there, continuing his education until the age of sixteen. He had shown special aptness for things mechanical, and at that age was employed in looking after the gas and water plant of the institution, under the direction of the chief engineer. He served in that capacity for two years and that experience he utilized after leaving the home.
About 1880 Mr. McKenzie accepted a position as general foreman of the Burlington Gas Light Company at Burlington, Iowa. He remained there until 1886 and then came out to Kansas, serving as general foreman of the Wyandotte County Gas Company until 1897. He left this company in the latter year to become manager of the Sioux Falls Gas Light Company at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he remained until 1905. With the exception of those eight years he had been a resident of Kansas since 1886. He returned in 1905 to become general manager of the Wyandotte County Gas Company.
Mr. McKenzie was married June 3, 1891, to S. Alice Volk of Kansas City, Kansas. They have one child, Helen Katherine, who is a graduate of the high school of Kansas City, Kansas. In national politics Mr. McKenzie is a republican, but is entirely independent when local issues are at stake. He is one of the live and aggressive men in behalf of civic reform and material improvement in Kansas City, and had lent his support both financially and otherwise to various enterprises. He is a director of the Associated Charities of Kansas City, Kansas. Fraternally he is a Knight of Pythias and an Elk and a member of the Mercantile Club and the Rotary Club.