Clifford Allen McKenzie, a Marine Corps veteran, marketing and franchise expert, writer and artist, died peacefully Thursday in home hospice care of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure, his family said. He was 77.
One of the first US combat correspondents to land in Vietnam, McKenzie volunteered for more than 100 combat missions from 1965-66, writing stories of heroism for the Stars and Stripes.
From 1972-80 he served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Century 21 International Real Estate and was one of the five founding officers of the Century 21 International Headquarters, a family member said. He continued to work with other franchise operations, until surviving colon cancer in 1996 and later relocating to New York City.
Cliff was known by colleagues, family, and friends as a “Renaissance Man” whose drive for creative expression led him to produce works of writing and art, a series of artisanal knives and watercolors, and a podcast he created during his final months in hospice, the family member added.
His podcast was called “1440” based on the number of minutes there are in a day.
In McKenzie’s final recorded podcast on October 5, recounting a lesson learned when he inadvertently left on a New York bus a bag of his artwork that was miraculously turned in and recovered, he concluded with these words: “If we take the moment to hope and to try, then we can find some results….I’d like to remind you that in the 1440 minutes of the day, that you might take one minute, just one minute, of those 1440, and hope.”
McKenzie continued: “Hope for something dear to your heart. The peace of the world, the peace of your own self, the success of a child who is struggling. Just hope — one minute of 1440 for hope.”
McKenzie’s greatest legacy was to his children and grandchildren, whom he contacted daily to support with such words of wisdom.
McKenzie is survived by his wife, Lori; daughters, Sabra and Erin; sons-in-law, Joe and Terence; grandchildren: Caoilfhionn, Adam, Sophia, Brendan, and Ian; and Yorkshire Terriers, Chewie and Zeus.
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