Obituaries will be added to this page once a month on the last Friday of the month. They will remain on the page for three months, and will then be removed.
To submit an obituary, send a picture (if desired) which has been cropped to 150 x 150 (thumbnail size) and a maximum of 150 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winnifred Rose – SI Port of Spain
Winnifred was a woman devoted to service and was very open-minded and spoke boldly about issues as she saw them. She and her family attended the local All Saints Church which was a short distance from her home and up to age ninety she was her own driver.
Winnie’s motto was “Never give up on a child.” She was a Probation Officer by profession and during her tenure in the Trinidad and Tobago Government service she restructured the Probation Department to create divisions in North, East, South and Tobago. As a Soroptimist Winnifred was specially mentioned for the publication of the booklet, Every Child Matters – a collaborative effort by the National Council of Voluntary Associations for Child Care Incorporated.
With the blessings of the Priest Rev. Moore, Winnifred’s passion led her to organize a course over an 8-week period with other Soroptimist sisters, Dr Dorrell Phillip, and Justice Monica Barnes (St Augustine) to educate and empower girls at her alma mater, Bishop Anstey High School, in the true spirit of Soroptimism.
During the mid-1970s Winnifred was amongst four Soroptimist sisters who presented papers before the Commission working to make recommendations to ensure the full integration of women in all aspects of national life.
Throughout her sixty years’ membership with Soroptimist International Port of Spain (SIPOS), Winnie remained in active service up until the last five years of her life and she will always be remembered for her witty ways.
Marie McLaughlin – SI Bangor
Marie McLaughlin, a member of SI Bangor (Northern Ireland) passed away on 14 June 2020 after a long illness. Marie was a very popular, valued, admired and much loved member of our club for nearly 20 years during which she took on the roles of Club Secretary and Membership Secretary. She also made great contributions to the local community. As an enthusiastic member of our club’s Talking News team, every week she assisted with reading and recording the local news for distribution to the visually impaired in the local area. She was also a great supporter of the Northern Ireland Hospice and worked enthusiastically on fundraising events for the charity.
Marie was a kind, thoughtful individual with a great sense of fun and humour and willingness to help others. It was a privilege to know her and she is greatly missed by all her sisters in SI Bangor.
Caroline Murtagh – SI Barnstaple and District
After joining in 2004, we soon benefitted from one of Caroline’s many skills – she catered for our Human Trafficking Conference, without any idea of the number of attendees. On retirement she was the main cook at the ‘Homeless’ Diner, providing hearty meals for the most vulnerable as well as being a volunteer elsewhere.
When diagnosed with cancer she was determined to keep going: she made Linus blankets and through ‘lockdown’ was sewing scrubs for her local Cottage Hospital.
Her positivity about her treatment was a reflection of how she lived her life – with determination, serenity and a ready smile!
Gillian Ingham – SI Leamington and Warwick
Gillian Ingham died on 26th July 2020 after a short illness.Gillian joined S.I. Leamington and Warwick in 1993. She was Club President in 1998/9. During her Presidency she founded the club’s very successful Swimathon. Over 19 years, under her expert guidance, the annual event raised just under £174,000 for local good causes. After the club closed in March 2019 she continued as an Associate member until just before her death. Her life reflected the values of Soroptimism.
Doris Davies – SI Pendleside
Doris died aged 93 on the 18th June 2020. She was a committed and dedicated member for 53 years of Colne & Nelson, Pendleside, the Region and SIGBI. Doris was Regional President in 1977/78 and served as club President, Secretary and Treasurer over many years. In 1999 the club awarded her honorary membership. She was a formidable character and her wealth of knowledge was an asset to the club. Doris was generous, kind and will be remembered for her love of cigarettes – a must after every meeting.
Ann Hawkes – SI Sheffield
She was a Chartered Accountant in practice in Sheffield for over 40 years and was an active, hard working and committed member of SI Sheffield for over 30 years, serving as President in 2011/12 together with a wide variety of other posts. She also served as Yorkshire Region Treasurer until Autumn 2019 when she became too ill.
She was much loved, valued and respected by the Club and Region alike – no one will forget her signature red flash of hair and her love of statement costume jewellery – but also her optimism and sense of humour and her sound and reliable financial advice.
José Fletcher – SI Sheffield
José was born in 1927 in Cleethorpes.
After school she worked for the Inland Revenue in London.
She married in the 1950s – her husband had a wholesale business in Sheffield market and together they opened a flower shop in Sheffield called ‘Au Jardin de Fleurs ’.
José was an excellent flower arranger (as well as being good at baking cakes) and created beautiful floral bouquets and table arrangements.
José had cancer and macular degeneration but although her failing eyesight was very difficult for her – she was always smiling and so pleased to welcome visitors when they called.
We will miss her company but we will remember the happy times we shared as fellow Soroptimists – she was a member and loyal supporter of the Sheffield Club for over 40 years.
Sheila Lesley OBE – SI Southend-on-Sea and District
Sheila passed away on 22nd November 2019 having been a member for over 40 years, serving as President in 1978.
Sheila studied at Girton College, Cambridge before entering the world of patents, becoming the first woman to qualify as an attorney for 29 years, the third to become a Chartered Patent Agent, and the first woman President of what is now The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys 1981 – 1983. In 1998 Sheila was appointed OBE for her services in this field.
Sheila was a Freeman of the City of London, an RNLI Governor, on the PCC of her church and Chair of Governors at a local school.
Sheila had an inexhaustible supply of stories and anecdotes. Being seated next to her at an event was always highly entertaining.
She was a true character and will be very much missed.
Patricia Doidge – SI Harrogate and District
Tricia passed away on 22nd May 2020 after a long illness. Tricia joined S.I. Harrogate & District in 1994 and embraced all aspects of Soroptimism, she was a leading light in our club and organisation. A well deserved tribute, Tricia was awarded Honorary Membership of the Club. She gave loyal and distinguished service to Soroptimist International for 24 years. We will forever miss her.
Dolores O’Faherty – SI Bray and District
Dolores O’Faherty, long-standing member and former President of SI Bray & District, Republic of Ireland. Dolores was a retired lecturer in nutrition and dietetics, Dublin Institute of Technology, and passed away peacefully at home in her 90th year.
Joan Morrison-Lyden – SI Woking and District
Our much loved member Joan died on 21st April 2020. Joan was a member of SI Woking for 33 years and was valued by all in the Club. Joan’s intellect, wit, clarity and grace added much to SI Woking’s development and proceedings over all those years.
Joan had a long and successful career as a hospital social worker (almoner). Joan’s skill, wisdom and kindness must have served the wellbeing of many through her work as it did her grateful friends at SI Woking & District.
Pauline Pearsall – SI Stafford
Pauline Pearsall died on 1 May, 2020. She had been a prominent member of SI Stafford for 40 years, having been Club President (twice) and President of Midland Chase Region in 1999/2000, as well as Region PAC Officer. She was the Region’s Representative on the SIGBI Benevolent Fund for many years, and was Secretary of the Benevolent Fund for 6 years.
Pauline was Assistant Director of Nursing Services at Stafford District General Hospital when she retired from the NHS. Members remember with great affection her warmth, kindness and generosity, and the speed with which she came to the assistance of anyone who needed help. She was an active supporter of many local causes, especially Katharine House Hospice.
She will be greatly missed, by the Club and the Region.
For a more detailed tribute, please go to: https://sigbi.org/stafford/files/2020/05/Pauline-Pearsall-Tribute-for-website-final.pdf
Sylvia Reynolds – SI Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead
Sylvia joined the Club in January 1996. She was President in 2001-02 and took an active part in the Club being Secretary for many years and was on the Fundraising Committee until ill health forced her to give up. She attended many regional meetings and enjoyed going to conferences. Sylvia died on 6 June and will be greatly missed.
Margaret Skerrett – SI Bristol
It is with sadness, affection and respect that we report the death of our only Honorary member Margaret Skerrett. She died peacefully in hospital on 12th June after a short illness at the age of 95.
Margaret, as Miss M. Holgate, joined SI Bristol in 1958 in the days when most members wore hats and gloves to meetings, smoking was the norm, with ashtrays provided, and members addressed each other formally. Most of the members at that time were in full employment, and when they reached retirement age they might be invited to stay on only if they were thought to be useful! Margaret enjoyed the aims and projects of the Club although at first found the formality quite daunting.
Her category was Horticultural Statistician, working at the Long Ashton Research station where she met her future husband Professor John Skerrett. They married in 1988 and enjoyed an active life together, sharing many common interests. Sadly John died of cancer in 1994.
Within the Soroptimist club Margaret avoided taking office as she always felt herself to be a “back room person”. However she willingly took an active part in club, visiting our various projects, working on committees and on reception, loyally supporting SI Bristol and attending meetings even in the last few months of her life.
She was a gentle person, kind, thoughtful, always smartly dressed, anxious to be no trouble, a true lady who nevertheless was active and determined, taking her almost daily exercise even during lockdown, despite a number of falls in the last few years.
Margaret took a great delight in her family watching her nephews and nieces grow up. We send to her family our very sincere sympathy, and we will all greatly miss such a kind and gentle friend and member at our meetings.
Barbara Shand – SI Bromley
Barbara Shand who died on 12th June 2020 joined SI Beckenham (now SI Bromley) in 1988. She had combined the career of teaching children with special needs, an active family life and a concern for disadvantaged people.
Her amused, slightly self-deprecating manner when raising issues at club meetings concealed considerable thought and analysis. More recently she ‘specialised’ in the activities, or lack of them, of the local NHS.
Her home was full of books and it was due to her that we have a book group currently reading its 127th book. She will be remembered as a loyal, warm, kind friend who cared.