Hundreds attend funeral of slain caregiver

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012

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Her name was still suppressed by the courts, when hundreds of family, friends and colleagues gathered to farewell Rosemaree Kurth.

The 50-year-old affectionately known as Spud was found shot dead at a rural Okoki house on April 15.

Her funeral was held six days later, and her family allowed only one media organisation to attend, the Taranaki Daily News.

The way Ms Kurth, nee Vile, touched many lives was evident from the cross section of the community which packed the Taranaki Crematorium on April 21.

Her coffin was carried in to Marianne Faithful's song Ballad of Lucy Jordan and pallbearers included her partner Kerry and daughters Lisa and Jimmy.

Celebrant Gwen Blake told the mourners while there could be anger, confusion, shock or distress about the tragic circumstances of Rose's death she asked those gathered to put that aside and to "celebrate the life of a talented, gifted woman".

Mrs Blake said she had learnt a lot about Rosemaree from her family, including her prowess in the kitchen and love of hosting friends.

"You could be assured that the jug would be on if you were going to visit. She would always want to feed you."

She said Rosemaree's family were always amazed at how she could create magnificent meals using only limited ingredients.

Rosemaree enjoyed playing the pokies, and drink preferences were a Tui and especially a Woodstock, she said.

She was the youngest of four children and left school aged 15 to live with her sister in Brisbane where she got her first job working in a shoe shop.

When she returned to New Zealand Rosemaree milked cows and worked in other occupations before becoming a caregiver to children in need.

"She was someone who could turn her hand to anything," Mrs Blake said.

Her work with the at-risk children eventually led to a job caring for people who had suffered head and spinal injuries.

Mrs Blake said Rosemaree's job required her to travel to Whanganui each weekend and she enjoyed relaxing during her time off.

"She loved her woolly socks and fluffy slippers."

Her daughter Lisa struggled to speak to the crowd.

"I don't know how I've got the strength to do this, I think mum's up here with me giving me the strength," she said.

She said she was comforted knowing her mother would now be looking over her forever. She said her mother had passed on a lot of cherished information over the years which included cooking tips and the use of Napisan.

"When I make gravy, I don't make it from a sachet, I use the stuff in the bottom of the pan like you showed me."

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Mrs Blake asked mourners to take time to reflect and remember Rosemaree as the song Angel, by Sarah McLachlan, played over the sound system. It reduced many present to tears.

A colleague described Rosemaree as a fabulous, wonderful, loving woman.

"As a support worker she was second to none," she said.

"She was a real people person."

And a client, whose wife Rosemaree had cared for, said although they had only known her for a couple of months they considered her a "close friend".

Yesterday 13-year-old Jordan Nelson pleaded guilty to Ms Kurth's murder in the High Court at New Plymouth.

- Taranaki Daily News

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