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Kenneth McKenzie became interested in becoming a mortician at the age of 12 when his father committed suicide. Working with grieving families came very natural to him, but he was uncomfortable with high funeral costs.
After eight years at a Lakewood, California mortuary, in 1994 he opened McKenzie Cremation & Burial Services in Signal Hill, California and halved the price of funerals. He shares his services by donating three percent of his professional service charge to the families’ charity.
McKenzie gives back to the community by sponsoring annual holiday food drives and summer estate sales that directly benefit people who receive care at local cash-crunched hospices.
So, it’s no surprise that McKenzie is winning accolades from Long Beach’s high ranking officials. McKenzie has been named outstanding business of the year for community involvement by the Long Beach Community Business Network.

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Not an Average Funeral Director

Long Beach’s Ken McKenzie earns
Funeral Director of the Year Award

Ken McKenzie has buried more people than you can shake a stick at.
No, he’s not a ruthless dictator or a Mob boss.
McKenzie is a Long Beach funeral home director, who started his career with a sense of humor that has not only helped drive his success but has shed a positive light on the industry as a whole.
The Belmont Heights resident was recently recognized for those achievements, earning the California Funeral Directors Association Funeral Director of the Year Award.
In 2006, McKenzie created and published the Men of Mortuaries Calendar, featuring shirtless, but shapely, morticians.
The calendar, which raised funds for women going through breast cancer treatment, also shed a positive light on the “death care industry,” according to the association.
“The calendar’s a great idea,” said Bob Achermann, executive director of the association.
It gives positive role models for letting the public know that funeral directors area just like everybody else.”
The award was also given to McKenzie because he is involved with the community. He gives to charity and he has achieved a high standard of quality of service, Achermann said.
“It was pretty easy to make the decision when it came to him,” he said.
The calendar earned McKenzie appearances on television shows like “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Good Morning America,” “ Inside Edition,” “Life with Regis and Kelly,” “Fox News” and “Good Day L.A.”
In fact, the new publisher, who has yet to be named, has committed to publish the Men of Mortuaries Calendar for another five years. McKenzie said.
The next edition will be released in October, McKenzie said, adding, “the only difference is people wanted to see more skin.”
McKenzie frequently works out andwill be Mr. June in the upcoming calendar.
Doing the calendar has shown that funeral directors are people with a sense of humor, McKenzie said.
The California Funeral Directors Association is the state organization for funeral homes and companies serving the funeral profession. The association serves as an industry advocate and provides professional development.

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