‘Wife of Otto’

In front of Dunblane cathedral there is a dark marble grave with a fallen cross. The design is very stark and the fallen cross long and thin. It looked manly. It reminded me of the above artwork by Antony Gormely.

The inscription on the black marble slab reads:

I found myself wondering who was Kate, wife of Otto?

Once home, I did a bit of archival digging. I found that Kate Gunn was born in Tasmania on 16 Aug 1877, the only daughter of a wealthy builder. She had five brothers, but all apart from one, died young.

In September 1910 Kate was a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding, where the groom’s best man was Otto Neuendorf from Melbourne. Kate married Otto Albert Ludwig Neuendorf in London in April 1913 during a tour of Europe.

Kate was a very beautiful young woman, as the above photograph reveals. She died at the young age of 37 having been married for only 6 months. The attending doctor, Dr Sloan, stated that she died of “acute gastritis” in Selcraig House, Dunblane:

However, given the suddenness of Kate’s death, a postmortem was requested. The conclusion of which was that Kate had poisoned herself:

Kate’s body was interred in front of Dunblane Cathedral.

As widower, Otto inherited her fortune, £38,484 (which would be the equivalent to nearly £4 million pounds today.)

Kate’s sudden death was a great shock for her mother and brother. They disputed Otto’s claim to her considerable wealth, but the courts granted him the greater part of it.

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