Farewell to a red and white 'angel'
HER WHOLE life, Kelly Cassidy stood out from the crowd, and at her funeral, it was no different.
In a turquoise Tiffany coffin with beautiful flowers and a bottle of Moet, Kelly stood out among the sea of red and white - the colours of one of her families, the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Kelly grew up in South Grafton, where she fell in love with rugby league and started strapping for the South Grafton Rebels.
It was an obsession that stayed with her until the very end, holding the position of executive assistant to the Dragons CEO Peter Doust.
Her brother EJ Hourigan was among the family members to speak at her funeral, which was held at the Rebels home ground, McKittrick Park in South Grafton.
EJ said once Kelly entered your life, she was there to stay.
"She will stay in our memories and in our hearts forever," he said.
"She was loved by many, especially her family. As we know she may have been small in stature, but she had a heart that would put Phar Lap's to shame.
"She had many talents; shopping was one of those talents, she could boss anyone around."
When she took her first job at the St George Illawarra club as a bartender, EJ said she continued to impress everyone as she moved up the ladder into her latest role.
"She always had a philosophy, if you want a job done correctly, do it yourself. Big words for such a small woman," he said.
"But damn well did she live up to that mantra every day of her life.
"Every time she came home she was making some of her glorious cocktails in one hand, and in the other, she'd be on the phone telling someone how to do their job."
Kelly was 41 when she died on July 2, having had a stroke in her home. But EJ said she was still helping people beyond the grave.
"We know her heart has been placed into the body of someone else, and that person is going strong," he said.
"That person has just been given the heart of an angel and will be a better person for it."
Former St George Illawarra players including Shaun Timmins were among the hundreds of people who attended her funeral on Friday.
A large number of club players and officials couldn't attend the funeral because their flight from Sydney was cancelled.
Friends and family gathered at Grafton District Golf Club following the service.