Matthew Keep is comforted after his mother’s Pauline Lesley Magner’s funeral in Gatton.
Matthew Keep is comforted after his mother’s Pauline Lesley Magner’s funeral in Gatton. Rob Williams

Flood victim honoured at funeral

A GREAT-grandmother who died in raging flood water at Grantham had a “heart as big as an elephant's” a funeral service yesterday heard.

Tears flowed as stories of much-loved Pauline Magner, 65, were recalled by her daughters and several of her 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Yesterday's service, held at Gatton's Peace Lutheran Church, heard how Pauline's no-nonsense and independent traits had earned her the nickname “Army Boots”.

But underneath her tough exterior was a strong family orientated woman.

“You always saw good in everyone. You were always the strength in our family. We will never forget you. You were one of a kind,” said two of Pauline's grand-daughters.

The last time Pauline's family saw her was on January 10. That afternoon she drowned when floodwaters tore through a town she had called home for years.

Mrs Magner had fled her home in Grantham before seeking refuge at her son Matthew Keep's family home nearby.

However her son's property was then engulfed by the raging torrent.

Matthew frantically struggled to save his heavily-pregnant wife Stacy and their three children.

As well as his mother, Matthew lost his 23-month-old daughter Jessica and his mother-in-law Dawn Radke.

Matthew said in an earlier interview his mum would have tried to save the kids' lives before her own.

Pauline's daughters Melissa and Donna yesterday reminisced on their childhood spent with a hard-working mum who always put family first.

The pair spoke of their mother's “itchy feet”, which resulted in several moves between New South Wales and Queensland before she found her “dream home” in Grantham.

“We were horrified mum bought the house. The first time we walked in there she fell through the floorboards,” her daughters said.

But after years of hard work and restorations, Pauline transformed the house into a place everyone called home.

“Mum, you made a beautiful home and a beautiful family,” her daughters said.

“You will be forever in our hearts. We love you mum.”

Pauline will be laid to rest in her birth town of Casino, New South Wales, next to her husband and “soul mate” Garry today. Mrs Magner was one of 22 to people who died in floods across Queensland – the majority of those people were from the Lockyer Valley.

Nine people including Jessica and Mrs Radke are still listed as missing.



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