Matamata Chronicle - - News -

There must be many ways to mea­sure merit. One is to count heads at a ru­ral fu­neral when a highly re­garded cit­i­zen earns ul­ti­mate pro­mo­tion. Mata­mata-Te Aroha fu­neral direc­tor Kerry McKin­ley is an ex­am­ple.

On Tues­day, April 21, he lost a long battle with can­cer. His fu­neral was at Mata­mata Race­course a week later. The grand­stand over­flowed – around 1400 paid their re­spects.

Kerry be­longed to his dis­trict. Every­body knew him. He was a vol­un­teer fire­man for 32 years, coached rugby, was a mem­ber of the Fish­ing Club, the Squash Club and rep­re­sented his firm on the Fu­neral Di­rec­tors As­so­ci­a­tion of New Zealand. He held a hand­ful of life mem­ber­ships.

He was an ex­cel­lent com­pan­ion, fun to be with, and with a bas­ket of tricks. In dif­fi­cult times of be­reave­ment, he was the essence of com­pas­sion and eased hurt.

Kerry seemed to know ev­ery­one in his Mata­mata-Te Aroha dis­trict, and ev­ery­one seemed to know him. He was a ded­i­cated fam­ily man. Kerry and wife Lyn­ley were a close cou­ple and three sons com­pleted a tight group. (This bond­ing could have been a prod­uct of Kerry’s lessthan- per­fect child­hood; Kerry’s par­ents, Vi­o­let and Ge­orge, di­vorced and Kerry and his brother were years in boys’ homes till his fa­ther even­tu­ally re­mar­ried. The ex­pe­ri­ence of a bro­ken home made fam­ily life more pre­cious.) Im­por­tant to that fam­ily life was com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, and there was much of it.

There were other in­flu­ences. As a young man, Kerry was in­volved in a mo­tor ac­ci­dent in Ru­a­to­ria

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