Family of Eden Prairie woman killed by tree prepares for funeral - KMSP-TV

Family of Eden Prairie woman killed by tree prepares for Saturday funeral

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On Tuesday night, the City of Eden Prairie acknowledged that the tree which fell and killed a woman near Mitchell Lake was compromised by decay, and her family is still learning to deal with the loss.

The Basswood, which measured 30 inches in diameter, snapped suddenly and fell atop 56-year-old Nina MacKay on Friday, killing her just a half a mile from her home.

While the investigation into the circumstances that led up to the tragedy continues, FOX 9 News spoke with MacKay's family about their grief and gratitude toward a community that came together around them.

MacKay seemed to know everyone in town, and those who spoke with FOX 9 News say the fitness fanatic was out doing what she loved when the unthinkable occurred.

As the city appeals to the public to help them spot what they call diseased and potentially hazardous trees, MacKay's family is preparing for her funeral with much sadness.

"Right now, I'm confused," her daughter, Lindsay, admitted. "It just hurts."

The MacKays say there is so much emptiness in their home these days.

"I don't know where else you go," Ian MacKay, Nina's husband, said. "It's mostly shock still."

Ian MacKay describes his wife of 23 years as the love of his life.

"She was just a bundle of energy and so happy," he said.

"She woke up every single day and asked, 'What can I do today? Who can I make happy?'" Lindsay MacKay recalled.

So quickly, a freak accident on her beloved walking path took her away.

"There's things we don't understand, we won't understand," Ian MacKay said. "We will never understand."

At the spot where she died, her daughter says she can find peace. A memorial for her mother continues to grow around a wooden cross set up there.

"I remember the last thing she said," Lindsay MacKay told FOX 9 News.

While there were no outward signs of disease on the 90-year-old tree, officials confirm the base was rotted when it toppled on top of the woman who walked the trail at least once day. Her two dogs and a neighbor, all just steps away, were spared.

"I'll miss her terribly," Ian MacKay said.

Lindsay MacKay says she lost her mother and best friend on that day.

"It's so hard not to be angry, but I don't want to be angry," she said. "I want answers."

The pair had promised to text each other daily once the 18-year-old Eden Prairie High School graduate headed off to college in the fall. Now, she's just trying to find the strength to carry on.

"I know she'll be with me," she said. "So, I have that. I can do anything. I don't just want to sit here and wonder what I can do. I want to take her with me and see what we will do."

The MacKays told FOX 9 News they want to thank the community for its outpouring of support, describing it as "overwhelming."

Visitation services are planned for Friday between 4-7 p.m. at the Washburn-McReavy Eden Prairie Chapel, located at 7625 Mitchell Road. A memorial service will be held at Wooddale Church, located at 6630 Shady Oak Road, on Saturday at 11 a.m. with visitation for an hour beforehand.

In lieu of flowers, family members say they would prefer memorials.

Meanwhile, city officials say they have several employees focusing on tree inspections and trail maintenance to try to spot compromised trees before they cause a problem. Last year, they removed more than 1,000 diseased and potentially hazardous trees from public land.

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