Louise E. McKenzie, flower arranger, dies at 96

July 22, 2013

Louise E. McKenzie, a certified second-degree master of the Ohara School of Japanese flower arranging known as ikebana, died July 15 at the Homewood retirement community in Frederick. She was 96.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said her son, John McKenzie.

Mrs. McKenzie was president of the D.C. chapter of Ikebana International, a flower-arranging society, from 1969 until 1971. A student of ikebana since 1957, she was invited to the White House to help prepare flower arrangements for the Emperor and Empress of Japan’s 1975 visit, her son said.

Early in her career, she was a clerk at the Library of Congress and a secretary for Sen. James J. Davis (R-Pa.) and Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (R- Mass.).

Louise Martha Erk was born in Washington, a daughter of Rep. Edmund F. Erk (R-Pa.). She graduated from the old Western High School and received a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University in 1943.

She was a past president of two nonprofit groups that promote international goodwill and cooperation, the International Neighbors Club and what is now the Welcome to Washington International Club. Her other memberships included the Congressional Club and the National Presbyterian Church in Washington. She moved from Rosslyn to Frederick in March.

Her husband of 57 years, Lawson McKenzie, died in 1998. Survivors include two children, Joyce Adam of Frederick and John McKenzie of Bainbridge Island, Wash.; six grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough