Lynton McKenzie obituary


Chief Administrator & Benevolent Dictator
Staff member
Nov 6, 2006
Covington, Louisiana
Thanks to Doc Martin for finding this. I had seen it once a long time ago but now we'll keep a copy in the Cafe.

Tucson resident Lynton Stuart Munro McKenzie, considered one of the world’s finest master engravers of firearms, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.

He was 58.

â€I would have ranked him among the top two in the world, along with (engraver) Winston Churchill, the only American engraver of his class,†said Bill Quimby, director of publications for Safari Club International and former Tucson Citizen outdoor writer.

Mr. McKenzie, a quiet, soft-spoken and intensely private man, maintained a low profile in Tucson while working on some of the most valuable antique firearms in existence – many of them hundreds of years old.

â€He was world-renowned for his fine English Victorian scroll, probably the finest in the world,†said Phil Quigley, another Tucson-based master engraver who apprenticed under Mr. McKenzie for five years.

â€He’s cut (engraved) for heads of state all over the world – the Sultan of Brunei, the Saudi royal family, English heads of state, work for some of the wealthiest men in Japan, including the (emperor).â€

In an interview several years ago, Mr. McKenzie said the British royal family had arranged for shipment of some of the firearms to him for repair, even though British law forbade removal from the country of its treasures – including antique firearms encrusted with gems and precious metals.

â€The last major firearm that he worked on was done on a Louis XIV that sold for just a tad under $1 million, built in 1652 at the Royal Armory at Lyon, France,†Quigley said.

Mr. McKenzie was born in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, Dec. 21, 1940. He took up gunsmithing at age 11 and by his late teens was regarded as his country’s leading gunsmith.

He later traveled throughout Europe, with letters of introduction from the premier and prime minister of Australia that opened doors of Europe’s museums.

He studied engraving with the masters in Belgium and Italy, eventually spending six years in London, embellishing double rifles and shotguns for such firms as Holland & Holland, Rigby and others.

He was encouraged to move to North America by a New Orleans collector who hoped the move would raise the quality of American arms decoration.

Mr. McKenzie’s love of hunting – he favored finely crafted black-powder rifles – eventually brought him to Tucson, and he moved here with his family in 1980.

When the dove and quail seasons were on, he would be afield with a 150-year-old double-barrel Manton flintlock shotgun, declaring, â€The people who made these guns meant for them to be used.

â€They are far better than anything being produced today, and it would be a shame to retire them.â€

Mr. McKenzie devoted some 3,500 hours of work engraving a finely crafted rifle built for Safari Club International by another Tucsonan, David Miller, in 1980. The rifle was sold at auction for $42,000, and the owner later declined an offer of $108,000 for it.

Though primarily a firearms engraver, Mr. McKenzie devoted some of his time to engraving fine knives with accompanying custom belt buckles – something he called â€functional male jewelry.â€

Survivors include his wife, Pamela; two daughters, Michaela McKenzie of Omaha and Fiona McKenzie of Tucson; and his mother and a brother, both of Sydney, Australia.

In keeping with his wishes, his wife said the family would hold a small, private ceremony, with his cremated remains to be returned to his homeland.

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