Celebrating Johan MacKenzie

It is with a heavy heart that Tocci bids farewell to a faithful employee last week. Johan MacKenzie was our Controller for fifteen years before being diagnosed and undergoing treatment for cancer in 2013. Dedication, hard work, and steady cheer characterized Johan’s service during her tenure at Tocci. Johan was a constant giver and volunteer; her Habitat for Humanity project in South Africa was the first recipient of our Matching Service Grant.

Johan’s impact stands strong in each our of memories.

There are so many memories, laughs, cries and smiles that I have shared with Johan over the past 15 years that will forever be engraved in my heart. Johan always found the best in me and simply for that I feel blessed to have known her.
To Pamela, Family and Friends, Take a deep breath and start a new day smiling knowing that Johan will forever be watching over you.
Peace. – Kimberly

On the outside, Johan was one of the toughest people I have ever met. Inside, she was one of the warmest. She had a tremendous heart. I relished in the opportunities to get one of her smiles, but knew not to push too hard…as I would be on the losing end. She was and still is the best. – Joe F

Johan MacKenzie was caring, principled, and courageous. About 12 years ago we were going to tear down a large storage shed on the property at 660 [Main Street]. I was getting a shovel to plant daffodil bulbs when I met Johan inside the shed—she was checking on a litter of kittens. They had been born there and she was feeding them while searching for homes in the face of the ensuing demolition.

That was my introduction to Johan: always concerned about those who needed care or couldn’t care for themselves.

Many years she used vacation time to volunteer with a Habitat for Humanity build. Several years she organized a group from her church to travel to New Orleans to rebuild after Katrina. In 2011, she approached me about financial help to make a Habitat Global Village trip to Cape Town, South Africa to build a house for a single mother. Her request birthed our Matching Grant, helping other Tocci staff realize their charitable goals. Johan originally applied for and was accepted to the Global Village Team without knowing how she could finance the trip: that’s faith. I don’t believe she even had a passport, and she confessed no small trepidation about traveling half way around the world with a group of people she hadn’t yet met. Her conviction about doing the right thing overcame her fears and the trip was as rewarding as it was enriching. – Lila

Johan was a dedicated and caring employee always going out of her way to help anyone who needed it. I worked closely with Johan during her 15 years at Tocci and will miss her. Rest in peace Johan. – Tony

I had the opportunity to work with Johan back in 2000 as well as most recently in 2012. In her role as Controller she was as conscientious as they come. Her passion and dedication for her work was unrivaled. She had a system for everything and always executed accordingly. Johan was committed to the betterment of the department and of the company. Her mastery of her role allowed me to expand mine. I never had to worry about things getting done. In addition to her work Johan was a very compassionate person. She often donated time and money to charities and causes she was passionate about. She truly will be missed. – Bud

When I heard the news about Johan passing I had to pull off the road, park, and have my own little moment of silence. I have known Johan a long time and everything about her was good. She was passionate about work, church, and whomever else she helped. She was very good at her job, tough when she needed to be, but always available and willing to help and compromise. I feel like I have lost a family member and just when the world needs more people like Johan, we have lost one. – Bob

Going into Johan’s office with a “quick billing question” meant that we would actually spend 45 minutes in each other’s company – trading stories about our pets, sharing challenges of being in a male-dominated profession, and geeking out over Excel features. I enjoyed her “tough as nails” approach to many things – and appreciated knowing where she stood on things! And of course, I appreciated her generosity. Whether she was at work or at home or in the world at large, she was extremely generous with her time, her energy, and her heart. What a woman. Miss and love you. – Laura

My heart goes out to Pamela, Johan’s family, and friends. I will always remember Johan for her smile, talks about her family, and for being a dear friend. Johan and I shared stories about her days in the martial arts, her love for her church, and especially all the travel adventures she and Pamela enjoyed. My wife, Kathy, and I were fortunate to have shared the marriage of Johan & Pamela last year before this ugly disease took her life.

Johan always gave 100% of herself at work and in everything she tackled. Here door was always open professionally and personally. For those of us that knew and worked with Johan, she will be missed. Johan is in a better place.

Let the lord shine bright on Johan’s wife, family and friends. Miss You. – Brian

Johan was a devoted participant in Tocci’s Habitat for Humanity Builds – Boston, Lowell and Billerica. She never hesitated to get involved in the more complex tasks offered on our volunteer days. On our Billerica Build, which was a renovation project, she didn’t think twice about climbing up to the roof (with the men) to strip off the existing shingles for replacement. She had no fear – not of heights; not of opportunities to learn and grow. She was a strong-willed woman with a principled soul and caring heart. I walk by her former workspace each day I am in the office. I think of her; I always say a silent hello. I will still say hello and always remember Johan. – Amy

How do you say thank you and goodbye forever to someone you labored with for more than 15 years? Not easily. Johan MacKenzie was a unique person in oh-so-many ways. For sure, she was an accomplished accountant and excellent cost control professional. Her work was solid, dependable and true—like her. Johan worked through the lean and lush times with equal dedication and verve — seemingly unswayed by either fear of failure or confidence in riches.

But Johan’s true contribution was her unselfish nature and passion for getting “good works” done. She was often the first to sign up for heavy work days for Habitat for Humanity, AIDS Africa health worker Kit-Packing sessions, and Cradles to Crayons work days – many on Saturdays of course. Johan gave of her money, her time, and her self. She used her vacation time to what, go to Aruba? Naw, she went to the boonies of South Africa for ten days of grueling volunteer work building masonry homes for the poor and homeless. She came back with a smile and glow no beachfront villa could ever replicate.

Johan MacKenzie made us a better company and knowing her made us better human beings. Goodbye girl. Well Done. – John

First let me say Johan and I are a lot alike—we have a similar disposition. Actions speak louder than words. She was always considerate. She’d do anything for anyone with no hesitation or thought of what it would cost her. She was a living example of a caring person.

I got close to Johan when I helped her remodel her house. She was a fast learner and insisted on doing as much as possible on her own. She became quite the craftsman with the power tools. She learned how to lay tile and hardwood floors, how to install cabinets as well as trim. I kept involved with Johan and Pamela throughout this whole ordeal. She came over to the house this summer. She made the effort to stay connected. No matter what happened, whether the news was good or bad, and it was often bad, Johan said, “Call Kevin and fill him in.”

We had a bond that I can’t easily explain—close, deep. We went to a show together just a few weeks ago, then talked over a couple Sam Adams’. Johan was full of determination to beat this cancer. . . so full of hope, all the way to the end. I will miss her dearly. – Kevin

We live in a culture of achievement often measured by the house we live in, our title, and our net worth. Johan’s life stands in stark contrast: instead of acquiring, she gave away. Instead of status, she chose humility. She used her strength to strengthen others. She saw service and serving as a high calling. Reflecting on her life begs us all ask: What am I holding onto? Who needs my help?

At Tocci, Johan’s legacy lives on: we proudly rename the grant to the Johan MacKenzie Matching Grant.

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  1. I am saddened to hear of Johan’s early demise. We went to high school together, she was accomplished in athletics during school, just as in work, career and life. Why does one with such a promising life and future get dealt such a terrible diagnosis? I’m glad Johan has a deep faith and love for her church, I think this will bring comfort to people who cared for her.

    My sincerest condolences to Pamela, Johan’s family, friends, co-workers, and pets

    Donna Savard

  2. I am Johan’s wife of 24 years and very saddened by the loss of my life partner. I met many of Johan’s coworkers from Tocci through various social activities. Johan enjoyed working for a progressive company like Tocci and had very good working relationships with her coworkers.

    Johan was a very loyal and dedicated employee who truly appreciated the grant that was given to her to travel to Africa.

    I want to say that Tocci treated Johan very well. I want to personally thank John and Tony for all of their support for Johan and me. May she rest in peace.

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