One of Tauranga’s iconic characters died today following a longer than expected battle with cancer.
Kevin Major died at 4.15am today, aged 50.
The Tauranga landscaper has left his mark on Tauranga.
Tauranga resident Kevin Major died today following a battle with cancer.
“You only have to drive anywhere in Tauranga and you can see his work, he’s certainly left his mark on this town,” says his widow Ailey.
“He did a lot of work out of The Lakes, and a lot generally everywhere for the council. Over the last 12 months before he closed the business down it would have been mainly council work.”
As well as his political interests, having run for mayor more than once, he will also be remembered for his interesting fashion sense – dressing in drag and claiming the most outrageous costume prize at the Tauranga Cup Race Day one year.
Despite an early win against prostate cancer it was discovered the cancer had spread and in October last year he was given two months to live.
Instead of seeping into depression, Kevin decided to embrace his fate and organised a bad taste celebrity roast where all his friends could insult and embarrass him.
He made it an extra seven and celebrated his 50th birthday earlier this month.
“I’m pretty sure it will hit us all later but for now it’s just relief that his suffering is over,” says Ailey.
“The last three months have been absolutely horrific at times. A lot of it’s just been him and me because the family have had to get back to work and they had their lives to get on with.
“There’s pros and cons about both sides, but I certainly learned how to be a nurse in a hurry.
“Then once he was in the hospice the pressure was off for me because I had back up. But then he still just wanted me.
Kevin Major pictured here with wife Ailey.
“It was lovely right up to the bitter end. Now we can actually take our time and plan a decent memorial send off.”
Kevin donated his body to science.
“He just thought if they could find something out from his body and save one life, it would be worth it,” says Ailey.
“It was hard. We had to explain to his parents that the day he goes is literally the day he goes. You do not get five to seven days to say goodbye. Literally that day they have to get him on ice and off to Auckland as soon as possible.
“That was okay, everybody came in this morning and said their goodbyes.
“I’ve buried a brother and a couple of other rellies, but seeing him going into the back of Todd Gower’s car with a nice little blanket over him, was nicer than watching a coffin going in the ground.”
A memorial service is being planned for Kevin, hopefully at Bureta Park, next Friday.