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Students, friends remember Chester High librarian's dedication, smile

A woman who devoted more than 25 years of her life to the Chester County school district has died.

Teresa McKenzie, a media specialist at Chester High School for the past eight years, died Wednesday. She was 48.

McKenzie was remembered Friday as a happy, smiling face, at school and at home. Friends and family say she loved her family, her job and her church.

Kim Moore, who works for the school district, said she and McKenzie used to have a great time watching their children play soccer together. The pair sometimes sold concessions while they watched the games.

"She was hilarious. She was so much fun," Moore said. "She was one of those people that made those cold, miserable, bitter nights worthwhile."

At school, Principal Jeff Gardner said many students looked up to McKenzie. She kept the library in good shape and always was available to help when people needed it.

"She was the kind of person who always had time to be here, always had time for the kids," he said.

Hundreds of students were expected to attend a memorial for McKenzie on Friday night. Her family planned to hang a banner, signed by students, behind the casket. Students also wore ribbons and shirts in honor of McKenzie on Friday, Gardner said.

"It's a huge loss for the school," Gardner said. "She showed us all how to handle the illness that she had and do it gracefully."

McKenzie fought cancer for three years. She worked until about a month before her death.

Her husband, Charles McKenzie, was outnumbered by the females in his house. The couple had three daughters, Sarah, 8; Nikki, 11; and Cheryl, 16.

Charles McKenzie said his wife loved being part of the handbells choir at their church and had a keen interest in the historic district. The family's home was built in 1903.

"She was a wonderful wife," he said. "Her kids really came first in her life, which is the way it should be."

In addition to her husband and daughters, Teresa McKenzie is survived by her mother, Hazel Smith of Columbia; a sister, Nicki Susan Riley of Lexington; and her cousin and caregiver, Darlene Thomas of Chester.

The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. today at Purity Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow at Wilksburg Cemetery.

WANT TO HELP?

Memorials can be made to Chester Senior High School Library, Attention Frances Morrow, 1220 J.A. Cochran Bypass, Chester, SC 29706.

Or, to Purity Presbyterian Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 278, Chester, SC 29706.

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