Married for 63 years – died a few hours apart


Kevin and Madeleine Feeney married in Auckland in 1954, built their dream home in Takapuna in 1957, lived there for 60 years, and had a joint send off — their coffins side by side — at St Luke’s Catholic Church in Bayswater, on August 4.

Last year they moved from Takapuna into a retirement village in Birkenhead; Madeleine’s dementia was getting worse, and Kevin’s own health was frail. They would die within 30 hours of each other.

Earlier this year, 93-year-old Kevin got a chest infection that morphed into the flu before becoming pneumonia.

Family members rushed home from around the world, to be by his side for what were expected to be his final moments.

But on July 30 they got a call to say it was their mother and grandmother, Madeleine, 88, who had died.

The couple’s son Paul Feeney — assistant coach of the Stormers Super rugby team in South Africa — broke the news to his father.

Kevin was in a non-responsive state, but Paul reckons he understood: 45 minutes later he passed away himself.

“It was quite romantic,” said Paul. “I told him he didn’t have to worry about mum any more, that she was waiting for him in heaven.”

Feeney described his parents as quiet, family oriented people who lead by example and were “good Catholics”. They had three children and nine grandchildren.

While Madeleine had been unable to recognise family for about four months, it was “still a massive shock” when she died, said Paul.

“But in the end you couldn’t have scripted it better,” he said. “They adored each other and were a great team, so for us it was just meant to be.”


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