THE SISTER of murdered Broadwater man Edward James "Ned" Kelly was at the door of the chapel welcoming guests with warm hugs and good humour as they gathered for her brother's funeral.
Mr Kelly had been found murdered and beheaded at Broadwater on June 22.
Margaret Simmons loved her brother. "He was a fantastic, kind, thoughtful soul," she told The Echo.
"He was a genius in all his artistic endeavours, and powerfully driven to complete tasks that mere mortals wouldn't even have attempted.
"He had amazing powers of resilience."
The chapel was packed and some friends and relatives, visibly affected by grief, remained outside as some of Ned's favourite tunes were played, starting with He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.
Celebrant Nici Paitson said Ned had been an artistic, kind, wonderful person whose death had come as a great shock to all who knew him.
"He was still young and still had so much to live for," she said.
"It's hard to come to terms with his early and untimely death ... his artistic endeavours included carving, poetry and oil painting and in his working life, whether on trawlers, fruit-picking or building, he demonstrated tenacity and a determination to see things through.
"Stubborn and argumentative, he had a wicked sense of humour and was so kind and helpful, he would give you the shirt off his back."
Margaret Simmons echoed these words, describing Ned as talented, artistic, creative and imaginative.
"Ned taught us all in his family to be true to yourself, to say what you mean and mean what you say," Margaret said.
"He lived by a code of honour and integrity, and believed in honesty in communication."
Another sister, Josephine, told mourners that Ned's had been "not the end anyone should have to go through".
"His imagination was endless, but sadly, life is not," she said.
Neighbour Naomi Mikkelsen, who had known Ned for 15 years, also remembered how he had been a kind neighbour.
"He brought us a turkey, tough as buggery, one Christmas," she recalled, amid laughter.
"We threw it in the river, and every Christmas since then, we have always remembered that turkey and had a laugh.
"I remember strolling round his garden with him. He was so creative. He recycled everything and made lovely delicate sculptures."
"He used his two strong hands in such a gentle way."
The man charged with Ned's murder and decapitation, Jonathon Andrew Stenberg, was arrested outside Darwin in early July after a week-long manhunt.
He was extradited to Sydney and last week faced a Sydney court, where bail was refused. He is due to appear in the Lismore Local Court on September 18.
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