Mackenzie Anastasia Ruston “Kenzie”, age 17, beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, teammate and friend, passed away suddenly on January 4, 2016 near Alpine, WY.
Born in Chapel Hill, NC on January 5, 1998, Kenzie was a senior at East Chapel Hill High School. She most recently fulfilled her dream of earning her private pilot’s license.
On the cusp of a brilliant future, Kenzie’s life centered on her passions: family, friends, jump rope and flying. She was a 13-year member and current co-captain of the Bouncing Bulldogs Jump Rope Team, to which she dedicated her heart and soul. Kenzie earned global respect and admiration as a hardworking, talented, disciplined and humble athlete. She was deeply committed to being a mentor and a positive influence to young people. Kenzie lived more in her 17 years with us than most do in a lifetime.
An adventurous spirit, Kenzie excelled at whatever she committed her heart to: jump rope, flying, snow skiing, water skiing, tennis. Her coach called her one of the greatest jumpers in the world: a 7-time Grand National Jump Rope Champion and a 5-time World Jump Rope Champion. She was eagerly awaiting her 18th birthday to experience her first skydiving lesson.
Kenzie was a young person of great humility beyond her years, a quiet leader respected and loved by her peers and a great friend to all who knew her. Her love of family and friends, boundless energy and community service are her legacy.
Kenzie is survived by her parents Mark and Dawn Ruston and brothers Michael and Matthew of Chapel Hill, NC. She also leaves her maternal grandparents Harold “Dan” and Paula Daniels of Cary, NC; her paternal grandparents Lawrence and Janet Ruston of Skaneateles, NY; maternal family Heather Daniels and Steve Gorniak of Washington, DC; paternal family Diane and David Smith of Syracuse, NY; Katya Ruston of Basalt, CO; Mindy Ruston of Marcellus, NY; Scott and Sherry Ruston of Syracuse, NY; eight cousins; a large extended family; and her furry sidekick Baron.
Visitation and services are at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 940 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill, NC. Visitation will be in the church sanctuary on Wednesday, January 13th from 6:30-9:00 pm. An overnight vigil will be held from 9:00 pm to 9:00 am. The funeral mass followed by a reception will begin Thursday, January 14th at 11:00 am. Burial will be held Friday, January 15th at 11:00 am at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donations to help establish a fund in honor of Kenzie’s legacy to support the Bouncing Bulldogs program. The Bouncing Bulldogs have been Kenzie’s life for the past thirteen years and it would be her dream to help other kids find their passion and spirit through this very special team. Contributions can be made online at GoFundMe.com/KenzieRuston or by contacting Mark and Dawn Ruston at HonorKenzie@Rustonmail.com.
The world lost one of its brightest stars and Kenzie’s influence will remain in all those she touched. We should all live by the values that Kenzie embodied:
• Work for a cause, not for applause,
• Live life to express, not to impress,
• Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.
The sky is NOT the limit!
Arrangements for the Ruston family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham. Online condolences www.hallwynne.com