Sharing memories of friends and loved ones departed from our world of piping drumming and pipe bands.


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Colin and Bonnie MacKenzie

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  • Colin and Bonnie MacKenzie

    Sharing some sad news from those of us who knew Colin and Bonnie here in the Pacific Northwest ~

    Colin MacKenzie, Lake Oswego, Oregon.jpg
    Colin MacKenzie died Oct. 10, surrounded by family, after struggling with Parkinson's.

    Colin was born Aug. 21, 1949, in Portland to Johanna and Duncan MacKenzie. The oldest of four children, Colin began learning the bagpipes from his father at 8, and along with his siblings, the MacKenzie family entertained all over Oregon with their Scottish pipes, drums and dancing. In 1967 he married Bonnie Blyth, a close family friend, fellow performer and dance teacher. After graduating from PSU in 1972, Colin and Bonnie moved to Lake Oswego where they lived for over 50 years. There he passed on his love of the bagpipes to generations of students. Colin and his students enjoyed many awards and accomplishments during his piping career. He was a pipe major of Blue Heron Bay Pipe Band, the first top rank pipe band in the U.S. and was a much sought after bagpiping judge in the Pacific N.W. In college, Colin began working in the finance industry where he stayed for over 40 years, serving as VP of Operations before he retired. Colin enjoyed working in his vegetable garden and loved the outdoors, highlighted by his camping trip to Olallie Lake with his brothers each fall. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was well-liked by everyone who met him.

    Colin is survived by daughters, Holly Kelly and Shona MacKenzie; son-in-law, Mark Kelly; grandsons, Torrin and Brennan Kelly; sister, Marianna MacKenzie Day; and brothers, Peter and Ron MacKenzie. Colin's wife Bonnie passed away in August.
    The family welcomes donations in Colin's name to the Parkinson's Foundation.

    Bonnie MacKenzie.jpg
    Bonnie Blyth MacKenzie (March 24, 1944 - Aug. 4, 2021) died peacefully in her sleep Aug. 4, 2021 from kidney failure.

    Bonnie was born March 24, 1944 in Oregon City to Dorothy (Junor) and Robert Blyth. She began learning Scottish Highland dancing at 8 and by the time she was 14, opened her own studio in the basement of her childhood home. In 1967 she married her longtime family friend and love of her life, Colin MacKenzie, who played the bagpipes and even took dancing from Bonnie. In 1972 they moved to Lake Oswego where she eventually moved her dance studio. Colin and Bonnie have two daughters who took Highland Dancing along with hundreds of other students through Bonnie's 60+ years as a dance teacher. She and her students enjoyed many awards and accomplishments, several carrying on the tradition of teaching Highland dance. Bonnie was instantly liked by everyone she met.

    Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

  • #2
    Their passing was a loss on so many levels. Our band, and I personally, was impacted by their presence, personalities, skills and so much more. Colin was one of my instructors; but his presence as an instructor and judge (as well as an outstanding piper) was known throughout the Northwest and well beyond. His quiet, yet very humorous, demeanor and fairness in judging individual pipers and bands was highly regarded. Bonnie was known worldwide in the dancing community, producing many champion dancers and excellent instructors. She even taught a bunch of us goofy and dancing impaired men for a four-man sword dance that we used to do as part of our band presentation. Both are an immeasurable loss to the world.