Loving tribute for grandparents killed in horror crash
A chance meeting at a busy Townsville pub sparked the monumental love story of a Mundingburra couple who couldn't bear to live in a world without each other.
John and Carol Kayes drew their last breath just minutes apart on Sunday afternoon after succumbing to their injuries in a triple-fatality crash on the Bruce Highway near Mount Surround.
The well-known Townsville couple, aged 72 and 70, leave behind a close-knit family, with granddaughter Keira Smith saying their 50-year long love story will be treasured.
The couple met in the 1960s when John was playing electric guitar in his band, MI5.
He locked eyes with a 18-year-old Carol across the room and sparks flew.
They started a life together in Townsville, had three daughters and raised them on acreage at Bushland Beach that John also ran as a plant nursery.
It was at this home that Ms Smith held the fondest memories of her grandparents, who would chase her and their eight other grandchildren around the garden.
Ms Smith said Carol was the "boss" of the relationship and a true "mother hen" to 11 great grandchildren.
"Grandma was the second mother of the family," she said.
"Mum was away in the Air Force a lot so she looked after us.
"She was crazy, light-hearted. Always the life of the party."
John, a keen fisherman and green thumb, was more subdued but a talented guitarist.
He spent his early years travelling in different bands around the region and even won an award in an Innisfail competition.
The couple would have been celebrating their 52-year wedding anniversary in November this year.
"They loved each other very much. They had their small fights but it was a very good relationship," Ms Smith said.
On their final weekend together, the couple were in Mackay to watch their grandson play football, and enjoyed their final Saturday night catching up with friends.
They were on their way home when a car travelling in the opposite direction slammed head-on into their four-wheel drive on the Bruce Highway.
The 56-year-old driver of the other vehicle was killed instantly.
Paramedics worked to save the couple, but they died within minutes of each other.
In a final act of respect, paramedics placed John and Carol side-by-side on their final journey home in an ambulance.
Ms Smith said it was a "beautiful" gesture her family appreciated.
Forensic Crash Unit is investigating the cause of the crash, but early indications suggest speed was a factor.
Originally published as Loving tribute for grandparents killed in horror crash