Stands over­flow for Kerry McKin­ley

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

and had swapped seats with a friend five min­utes be­fore the crash. His friend died. To Kerry, the ac­ci­dent was life-chang­ing, says son David.

It led him to join the Mata­mata Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade in 1980. He was awarded the 25-year Gold Star in 2005, was made an hon­orary life mem­ber in 2006, and when he re­tired in 2012, he had com­pleted 32 years, three months and six days of ser­vice.

Kerry was born in Otaki on March 22, 1950, a lad with fun in his heart, but not al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated by teach­ers. He told his fam­ily he com­monly wore two sets of trousers to school to help ab­sorb pun­ish­ments dealt out. Sto­ries he re­counted tes­ti­fied he was a chap to make the best of a sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘From an early age, Kerry could turn any life event into an adventure,’’ said fu­neral cel­e­brant Ron Cronin-Lampe.

David told how his dad con­fessed to ‘‘wag­ging’’ from school and forg­ing notes to teach­ers. In other re­spects, he was a man of in­tegrity. His child­hood moved him from Otaki to Tau­ranga, to Pa­p­a­toe­toe, and to Kel­ston af­ter his dad re­mar­ried. He at­tended Kel­ston Boys’ High School.

Kerry was a man of many parts, demon­strated by his work record. As a young­ster he was an ‘‘ice­cream boy’’ at Auck­land’s St James Theatre. He worked at a lolly fac­tory, tried his hand at farm­ing, and worked at Water­son’s Fu­neral Di­rec­tors.

Six­teen years ago, he was in­tro­duced to Glenda Mil­li­gan. They were two peo­ple seek­ing a chal­lenge and out­let for their need to ease be­reave­ment. The busi­ness part­ner­ship of Broad­way Fu­neral Homes, serv­ing Mata­mata, Te Aroha and dis­trict, was the re­sult. But there was al­ways time for Kerry’s trout fish­ing.

Glenda puts her fin­ger on Kerry’s magic. ‘‘You have al­ways had that ex­tra mana few folk have. I no­ticed it the first time I saw you con­duct­ing a fu­neral – be­fore I even met you.’’

Kerry is sur­vived by his Lyn­ley, David and Farah, Michael and Kiri and Dal­las, eight grand­chil­dren and four great­grand­chil­dren.


Kerry McKin­ley is fondly re­mem­bered by the Mata­mata com­mu­nity.

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