The first male episcopal supervisor of missionary work in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Stan McKenzie is dead.
McKenzie, who is the husband of Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the first woman bishop in the denomination’s 205-year history died on Wednesday, July 21, aged 76, died in Dallas after a brief illness.
His death was announced by the Christian Recorder, the official publication of the denomination.
Less than two weeks before, McKenzie’s wife praised her spouse at the retirement service for bishops during the AME Church’s General Conference.
“He is unique in that his ego does not get in the way of me being who I am and I don’t get in the way of who he is,” she said in Orlando, Florida, on July 9.
“This is a man that listened to every sermon before you heard it and listened to it patiently and supportive — this is the man who when God called me to preach said ‘yes’ because he knew that God was calling us together.”
According to the bishop, she in turn, supported her husband’s career when he was an NBA player for teams that included the Baltimore Bullets, the Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trail Blazers.
The deceased concluded his basketball career with the Houston Rockets and he holds a more-than-50-year record for the freest throws attempted in one quarter.
After retiring from the NBA in the 1970s, McKenzie was in the personnel services and human resources fields for over 20 years. According to his bio from the AME Church’s 10th Episcopal District, from which he and his wife had just retired, he was a manager for corporations, negotiating contracts, overseeing operations and supervising staff.
After his wife was elected in 2000 as bishop, McKenzie became the first man in the role traditionally held by female spouses of bishops.
Reacting to the development, Bishop Anne Henning Byfield, president of the AME Church’s Council of Bishops, described his service as stellar. She added that McKenzie modelled male leadership as a Supervisor of Missions in a creative and imaginative way.
“At the same time, he was her partner in ministry, marriage, and family. He served as a model for male supervisors who followed him,” Byfield said in a statement to RNS