When Kay Kendrick received a memorial plaque for her late husband, Frank, there was little question where it would hang.
Yesterday, those who cherished his life gathered to dedicate it at the Yonkers City Pier, near the Hudson River that Kendrick loved and where he lost his life.
"I feel like his spirit is here," Kay Kendrick said on the pier, where several dozen friends and family members had gathered.
Tuesday will mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Kendrick, a longtime member of the U.S. Volunteer Lifesaving Corps and the pier's volunteer dockmaster for nine years. The 71-year-old man dove into the water that morning just north of the pier to rescue a despondent woman who had leapt into the river.
The woman's life was saved, but Kendrick suffered a heart attack and drowned. His wife said her husband, a retired truck driver for the city, had pulled at least 30 people out of the water in his other career on the Hudson.
It was a beautiful day on the river yesterday, with a stiff breeze from the south that was stirring whitecaps on the water. There were smiles and embraces at the dedication as Kay Kendrick posed for pictures with guests and accepted a proclamation from the city.
She was wearing a nautical blue jumpsuit and a piece of jewelry that had been her husband's, a neck chain bearing a gold anchor superimposed with a crucifix. The 73-year-old woman has taken over her husband's post as dockmaster, helping direct passenger boat traffic on and off the pier.
The couple had lived in a mobile home not far from the pier. Kay Kendrick has since moved to an apartment nearby.
"Kay and Frank, they were a team," said Bob Walters of Yonkers, who's active in Hudson-related volunteer work. "For Kay and Frank, it was a 24/7 operation."
While some men wear their hearts on their sleeve, Frank Kendrick wore his on his van. The license plate bore the acronym USVLSC, for the organization he served. Kay Kendrick said the plates inspired her to get her driver's license three years ago.
"I didn't want to take them off," she said. "I've been driving it ever since."