Wednesday 7 December 2011

Packer clan flies in as James leads mourners at mother-in-law's funeral

Packer family
James and Erica Packer arrive at the church with their children, Indigo and Jackson. Picture: Nathan Edwards Source: The Daily Telegraph

James Packer put aside business yesterday to fulfil the role of pall-bearer, son-in-law, husband and father of two sad children at the funeral service for his mother-in-law Sheelah Baxter.

The 54-year old was farewelled in the northern NSW town of Gunnedah, where she raised Erica before her daughter embarked on a modelling career and eventually met James. Ms Baxter died last Wednesday after a 13-year battle with breast cancer. The family had been on holiday in Fiji spending precious last days together before her health deteriorated and she had to be flown home.

Erica has been in Gunnedah since that day, helping her father Michael and siblings, Joanna and Billy, cope with the difficult period and organising the funeral arrangements.Together with James she consoled her children, Indigo and Jackson, at the funeral. She wore an elegant and understated black outfit, and wept for the loss of her mother. The normally quiet Gunnedah airfield was busy with private jets and helicopters as family and close friends arrived in town for the service at the Christ Church Anglican church.

James Packer led the way, carrying the coffin from the church. His mother Ros and sister Gretel also attended.Among the mourners were Packer executive and confidant John Alexander and old friend Matthew Csidei. Nine Network chief executive David Gyngell was represented by his wife Leila McKinnon.
Sheelah Baxter had spoken at a Gunnedah Pink Ribbon Day breakfast in October, talking for the first time publicly about her battle with cancer. She was joined at the event by daughter Joanna Hunter, who spoke about her own cancer diagnosis.

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