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Bobbie McKee. 69, who was pronounced dead after his body was located in a property in the Newcastle Road area of Kilkeel, Co Down. PA

Mourners at funeral of Bobbie McKee told his murder 'shattered the peace' of local community

Mr McKee’s widow, Yvonne McKee, who was injured in the attack in which he died, was among crowds of mourners who attended his funeral.

MOURNERS AT THE funeral of Bobbie McKee, found murdered in Kilkeel last month, heard he lived a life “marked by gentleness and grace, service and sacrifice, humour and humility”.

The murder of Mr McKee, 69, was described at Mourne Presbyterian Church, Co Down, today as having “shattered the peace of the local community” and “devastated the lives” of his grieving family.

Mr McKee’s widow, Yvonne McKee, who was injured in the attack in which he died, was among crowds of mourners who attended his funeral at Mourne Presbyterian Church today.

After the service she was supported by family as she walked out of the church behind her husband’s coffin to the nearby graveyard.

Rev William Bingham opened his address by extending his thanks on behalf of the McKee family for the support they have received, describing it as “great comfort at a time of unimaginable pain and grief”.

He also thanked staff at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for their care of Mrs McKee, saying she had travelled from hospital to attend the funeral that day.

Bingham described the community as in “deep shock and with immense grief at the unspeakably tragic death of our dear friend Bobbie”.

He said they found “the circumstances of Bobbie’s death incomprehensible”, adding it “has shattered the peace of our community, broken the hearts of our congregation and devastated the lives of a grieving family”.

He described Mr McKee as a supporter of the church and “devoted husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle and nephew and friend”.

“A life marked by gentleness and grace, service and sacrifice, humour and humility, thoughtful and very talented,” he said.

Mourners heard that Mr McKee had a “winsome personality” and loved to play Santa at Christmas.

“Bobbie was always a very affectionate, thoughtful and kind son and brother,” he said.

“He played a key role in family festivities especially at Christmas, where I am told he was an excellent Santa Claus, distributing gifts, organising the games and decorating the house and the cakes, he organised the family birthday parties using his creative skills and talents to make them that little bit more exciting and unique.

“He had a most winsome personality that endeared him especially to children and would often be down on the floor playing along with them, full of fun.

“He was family centred and would brighten up the room when he came in with his lovely smile, quick wit and sometimes innocent mischievous pranks.”

He said Mr and Mrs McKee were “always seen together” and had a “great love for each other”, and were “great organisers of family events and celebrations – birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions”.

He said Mr McKee had been for more than 30 years a machine operator in an aircraft factory, and 20 years as church officer, known for his “awe-inspiring floral displays” and leading roles with the Boys Brigade, teaching in the Sunday school and singing in the choir.

“His creative mind, skilful hands, could turn the very ordinary into something quite extraordinary – I do believe Bobbie McKee could have turned a pig’s ear into a silk purse,” he said.

“He had his own little business arranging flowers for weddings and did many of the recent family weddings. We will view some of his wonderful church displays in a short presentation at the close of the service.

“He was in just about everything in this church and yet he was to many simply a very good friend. He will be so very greatly missed.”

Colin William James McKee, 25, of Canal Street in Newry, who is understood to be Mr McKee’s son, appeared before the city’s magistrates’ court last week charged with the murder of Mr McKee and attempted murder of Mrs McKee between 19 March, 2024 and 21 March, 2024.

Press Association