Our beloved Daniel George McKenzie concluded his time on Earth after a mental health battle on December 11, 2023. He was born on September 13, 1982 to David George McKenzie and Melanie Ann Rigby in Ogden, UT at St. Benedict's Hospital. He weighed 7 lbs / 11 oz and came into this world carrying a light and joy with him from his first breath, along with an indescribable peace and warmth about him. He was the third of five children. He graduated from Fremont High School after at the age of 18 meeting the love of his life, Judy Murdock through his Best Friend and brother Bryan.
At age 19, Dan served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Porto, Portugal which he honorably completed while serving as an Assistant to the Beloved President, now Apostle, Elder Ulisses Soares for over half of his mission. Dan was a very successful and effective missionary due to his love for people.
Soon after he returned home, he was sealed Eternally to Judy, on March 15, 2005 in the precious Salt Lake City Temple. Dan and Judy were married just 3 months shy of 19 years. He then joined the Military and his adult life began.
They welcomed to their home, 4 miracle children: Benson, Gracie, Kimball, and Cubby over their almost 19 years of marriage. Dan was the most amazing Father and knew just what to say and how to handle things with the kids. He was the light and life of his children's lives. It was absolutely inspiring to watch Dan work so unconditionally lovingly with Benson, his Beloved Son who learns through Down Syndrome and Autism. His Bumble Bee and his “Buddy.” There was never a more tender scene than to watch Dan's indefatigable patience and love for his very special and precious son. Gracie Mae loved her Daddy (Dattie) to no end. He was her Knight in shining armor in all things, and honored her as his precious Princess Baby Bear. Kimball deeply loved his dad and to see Dan interact with him was to see a proud father of his little boy. He was his best bud. Cubby could not get enough of Dan as he was his jungle gym. Dan was so good to be engaged with his kids from the moment they were born and be the gentle, kind and patient father they needed.
To Judy, Dan was her personal hero. He literally saved her life many times during challenging illnesses she encountered. He went above and beyond to support and unconditionally love his wife. Dan was the guy who was able to do it all and be it all, all the time, for everyone. His work and home responsibilities were great and fortunately he had the capacity to manage it with integrity and grace.
Dan was a beloved son, brother, husband, father and a best friend to all. He had a voracious appetite for life, adventure, athletics, fun, laughing, joking, and lifting others up when they felt down. Dan was amazing in every way and impacted everyone he met. He had the gift of understanding others and showing them unconditional love. When he was around, you just felt SAFE.
He was accomplished in the Military being one of the most experienced interrogators, and knowing 6 languages. I mean really, how many can say they know 6 languages. During Dan's military service he joined the Utah Army National Guard as a Human Intelligence Collector in 2006. After basic training, Dan was sent to the Defense Language Institute where he learned Persian Farsi. During his service, Dan worked for the Utah National Guard Counterdrug Program in many roles. His success led him to many leadership assignments, including his most recent as Training Officer, Team Chief, Senior Linguist, and Senior Human Intelligence Officer. Dan's athletic ability quickly set him apart as a "300" PT stud and he frequently maxed the Army Physical Fitness test as well as very nearly maxing the Army Combat Fitness test. He was awarded the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge also due to his athletic prowess. During his time, he deployed once to Iraq in 2010 and Afghanistan in 2011 on a team for which he was selected above his peers. Dan assimilated another language called Dari and even maintained fluent Portuguese. Because of his skill with languages he was once named 300th MI Linguist of the year. Dan was also Delta company and 142nd MI battalion soldier of the year. Dan’s contributions to training and his leadership contributed greatly to the national security of the country he loved. Dan cherished his service in the Army and was beloved by those with whom he served. His electric personality and dedication to his service left him highly respected among his leaders, peers and subordinates.
Dan was also a wrestling coach at Fremont High School for six years and Box Elder High School for six years prior to his passing. He wrestled with his brother-in-law Jed Craner every day during Jed's senior year because there was no one good enough to challenge him, except Dan. Dan would later coach with Jed at Box Elder where their friendship and brotherhood deepened beyond description. He made the toughest and most grueling sport seem fun. He was able to keep the perspective of his wrestlers positive and calm in any situation and he always brought good vibes to practice. Jed noted that his wrestlers often would be in the middle of one of the most mundane practices and the second Dan came into the room everyone would get a smile on their face and be more motivated to get to work. He loved coaching wrestling. Dan helped many high school-aged boys during the rough years of adolescence as he would be there for them for far more than wrestling training. Dan was able to help many through challenges they faced in their lives off the mat. That's just the kind of man he was, as the title of wrestler was secondary to being a brother with Dan.
He kept himself fit by playing sports his whole life. In his most recent years you could find him constantly at his work gym or playing indoor soccer, but most of all his love was for the game of volleyball. He played year round and garnered deep friendships with the local volleyball community where his presence and positive energy will be deeply missed. Many hearts were broken on the day of his passing and many will find it difficult to continue doing the myriad of things they did with Dan, because everyone always wanted him around. His smile was contagious beyond belief. The love in his heart ran deep.
He loved his immediate and extended family who all had such positive and powerful influence on him becoming the great man he was. His formative years were spent in Harrisville, UT and adolescence in Plain City, UT where he occupied himself with playing basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, street hockey, long hikes to Maverick and swinging on the neighborhood rope swing at the creek - oh, and also Nintendo. Dan loved video games and, admittedly, he excelled at them. He was part of the Boy Scouts of America and learned to love the outdoors and camping. In High School, Dan was a star wrestler and football player. He was loved by so many friends during that time. He was loved everywhere he went. To know him was to not only love him, but to be loved by him; Unconditionally.
In his last week of life, Dan told his Wife Judy that he kept running into complete strangers who were alone and crying in despair and he walked up to them and hugged them and cried with them. (While he, himself was hurting deeper than any of us knew.) THAT is who Daniel G. McKenzie is.He gave literally his all and everything to everyone. Dan the Man will be forever in our souls.
Dan is survived by his wife, Judy and his children, Benson David age 15, Gracie Mae age 13, Kimball Dan age 10 and Cubby Lund age 4. He is also survived by his parents, David McKenzie and Melanie Rigby and siblings Davee McKenzie (Shelly), Megan Lee, and Kellie Tolton (Andy). Further, he is survived by his brothers-in-law Johnny Murdock (Tessa), Jed Craner (Chelsea) and his sister-in-law Sadie Craner, as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his older brother, Richard, who passed away June 25, 2015, and his grandparents, Richard and Dorothy McKenzie and Grace and George Rigby. Also, he was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Lisa and brothers-in-law Mitch and Bryan Murdock.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the Ogden Utah Tabernacle, 2145 Washington Blvd. Friends may visit with family on Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Lindquist's Ogden Mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd. and Tuesday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Tabernacle. Interment, Lindquist's Memorial Gardens of the Wasatch, 1718 Combe Rd.
Services will be live-streamed and available the day of the services by scrolling to the bottom of Daniel’s obituary page at: www.lindquistmortuary.com, where condolences may also be shared.