May 31, 2004

Pipe-Major J.T. MacKenzie, 1920-2004

Pipe-Major John Thomas “J.T.” MacKenzie died in Alexandria, Ontario, on May 2, 2004, age 83. He was one of Canadian piping’s most prominent post-War figures.

Born in Edinburgh on September 16, 1920, he joined the Scots Guards at the age of 15 and became a Pipe-Major in his early twenties. He served with the 1st Battalion in World War II.

After the war, he immigrated to Canada, becoming pipe-major of the Ottawa Air Force Pipe Band, which he actually joined in England before leaving the U.K.

He and his family eventually settled in Maxville, Ontario, where he was a prolific teacher of piping, and an early organizer of the Glengarry Highland Games, which is now home to the largest piping and drumming competition in the world.

Among his many accomplishments, MacKenzie was the first Pipe-Major of the Ottawa Police Pipe Band, which he formed in 1969. He was inducted into the Glengarry Hall of Fame in 1984.

“J.T. MacKenzie will be fondly remembered and respected for his leadership, teaching, and contribution to the development of many pipers,” said Pat Hayes, Pipe-Major of the Ottawa Police Services Pipe Band. “The Piping world has lost a remarkable person.”

His wife, Helen, and two children survive J.T. MacKenzie. Funeral and memorial service arrangements are to be completed, but will take place in Maxville this week. He will be buried in the town’s cemetery.

On behalf of pipers and drummers everywhere, we express our condolences to J.T. MacKenzie’s family and friends.




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