‘Selfless’ mother killed before her time
Simmering anger over death of Kiwi mother in boating tragedy, Julian Lee reports.
A woman killed at an America’s Cup event in Bermuda was remembered yesterday.
Mary-Elizabeth McKee was honoured by family and friends as an exceptionally kind, ‘‘selfless’’ woman at a service at Christchurch’s Anglican Cathedral.
But mixed with deep sorrow was a simmering anger that the 62-year-old grandmother had been taken before her time.
McKee was killed earlier this month when a 17ft boat rode over the inflatable Zodiac she and her husband Arthur were on in Bermuda’s Hamilton Harbour.
Her sister Felicity Robinson emphasised how ‘very, very wrong’ the tragedy had been.
‘‘I should be standing up here some 30-odd years from now, clutching a Zimmer frame, hooked up to a portable dialysis machine and complaining about the way Mary cheats at bridge.’’
Neighbour and friend The Reverend David Coster stressed the accident was avoidable.
‘‘Joy turned to tragedy and sorrow through an accident that need not have happened if those in control of the boats had behaved responsibly.
‘‘I have to tell you I’m putting that very nicely. I’d like to be a lot firmer but this is neither the place nor the time.’’
Arthur, who received a head
Though she has gone now she has left a legacy of her love and perseverance. I will be forever grateful for the love, kindness and support she shared with us. Buy McKee
injury in the accident, delivered a moving tribute to his wife.
‘‘I love and adore you so much, and always will,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s so very, very hard. It’s so unfair. You were a very, very special mother.’’
Arthur Mckee described his late wife’s passion for exercise and travel and her good-nature.
‘‘She was always so much fun, a great friend and a wonderful companion.
‘‘I feel so privileged and fortunate to have spent my life with yours.’’
Daughter Lucy Cogle spoke on behalf of McKee’s parents about her childhood, and growing up with 10 siblings in Auckland.
Cogle said her mother was a kind child who used to sneak stray animals into the house to look after them.
She explained how growing up with seven brothers shaped McKee into someone who wasn’t afraid to speak up.
She then cited a verse from the World War I song Roses of Picardy.
Her son Guy McKee stressed how thoughtful and loving his mother was towards others.
‘‘Those of you that have met her will never forget the way she composed herself always with class and style, a person who was selfless.
‘‘Though she has gone now she has left a legacy of her love and perseverance.
‘‘I will be forever grateful for the love, kindness and support she shared with us. She was always so selfless when it came to friends, family and strangers.’’
Son Elliot McKee, a musician, performed an original song called Elizabeth, which he said had special significance for his mother.
The Berlin-based Elliott plays with a duo called Charity Children, and the song appeared on their debut album Autumn Came.
The service ended with a rendition of Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz, before McKee was carried out in a white casket.
The skipper allegedly responsible for the tragedy is in Bermudan police custody while the investigation continues.
Mary-Elizabeth McKee was remembered yesterday as a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.