Pamela Farry - Obituary

Pamela Farry - Obituary

7th May 2013
On Saturday April 27th, in the ODT newspaper, there was a beautiful obituary for Pamela Farry.  I have pasted the text from the article below, as the attached picture is a little hard to read.

You're always in our hearts, Pam.


Known for Elegance and Generosity of Spirit

PAMELA DIANA FARRY Model and mother

PAMELA Farry was a pioneering Dunedin model who achieved international success in the industry. She later became a matriarch of the Dunedin modelling and fashion scene, inspiring generations of aspiring models.
However, she also used her talents to benefit many others, from the poor and needy to prison inmates and cancer patients.

Mrs Farry, who died in March aged 72, was the second daughter of the late Eric and Jessie Duff of Dunedin, and sister of Dian Shirley, Jennifer Paddy, Eric Duff and the late Lois Brown.

‘‘We had a very happy childhood. The house was always full of our pets and we all had our ponies,’’ Mrs Shirley recalled.

‘‘I remember Pam being kind and gentle and very, very beautiful as a young girl. She was breathtakingly beautiful when she was dressed up to go out in her teenage years, but she was always totally unaffected by the picture she made. She always was a lovely, lovely, person.’’

Mrs Farry was educated at Arthur Street School and Otago Girls’ High School, before starting work in the DIC department store where she was persuaded to take up catwalk modelling in the in-store fashion parades.
After attending the Barbie Worthington School of Modelling, she was contracted to model for the DIC, which presented three or four parades daily on a catwalk constructed high above the counters.

Mrs Farry quickly became well known in Dunedin society for her grace and style.

‘‘My contemporaries had great admiration for Pam in the late 1950s when she tripped the catwalk, modelling the latest fashions at the DIC. We never missed a parade and all of us thought she was the most glamorous creature on two legs,’’ journalist Lois Galer said.

‘‘She was one of the icons of Dunedin we all aspired to be.’’

Mrs Farry moved to Sydney when was 17 to train at the Pat Woodley Agency and embark on a professional modelling career in Australia for 10 years.

During a visit home to see her family in 1967, she met Dunedin lawyer John Farry and the couple married at St Joseph’s Cathedral two years later.

‘‘We first met as teenagers, but were on different career paths. Over the years we maintained a casual friendship, but when she was visiting her family in 1967 we began seeing each other. I soon realised what a precious treasure she was and we were fortunate in having a lifetime love affair,’’ Mr Farry said.

Mrs Farry had a lifelong interest in fashion and assisted her sister¬in¬law, Margaret Farry¬Williams, at Vanity Walk Modelling over many years.

She supervised the photographic classes and assessed more than 100 modelling diploma candidates at the end of each year. She was also convener of judges for the Miss Otago beauty contest for many years.
‘‘She brought the very best out in the young women by immed¬iately engaging with them. At the same time she had an astute eye, was objective and always extremely fair,’’ ODTfashion writer Jude Hathaway said.

‘‘She showed how a different tilt of the chin, the shoulder or the hip could make all the difference. She also knew the importance of encouraging the models so as to get the best from them.’’
Mrs Farry held a popular talk, ‘‘Fashion on a Budget’’, at the Dunedin Public Library and other locations in the 1990s and early 2000s.

‘‘She would bring a whole wardrobe of clothes with her that she had picked up at the op shops and proceed to put together stunning outfits that she would dress a model in. Her audiences always left the talks inspired by them,’’ Mrs Hathaway said.

‘‘With Pam’s death, a light has gone out in the fashion world in the South.’’

Mrs Farry was still modelling in her 60s, appearing in the iD Dunedin Fashion Show and New Zealand Fashion Week in Auckland.

She also taught Dunedin Women’s Prison inmates about make¬up, hairstyling and clothes, took remedial reading classes for adults, cooked weekly meals for a halfway house, read to the sick, supported at¬risk youth and was recently awarded a badge commemorating 21 years of service to Look Good¬Feel Better, which encourages cancer patients to boost their self¬esteem by looking their best.

‘‘Pamela was such a lovely, capable, delicious lady and the clients loved working with her, as did the whole team,’’ Look Good¬Feel Better facilitator Anne Sheehan said. ‘‘And she was always so very elegant.’’

Mrs Farry helped launch a campaign in 1982 to save the historic Dunedin Municipal Chambers, which the Dunedin City Council was considering demolishing.   ‘‘We set up a petition to save it and spent most lunchtimes and Friday nights gathering signatures at the Golden Centre Mall entrance,’’ Mrs Galer recalled.
‘‘Within a few weeks the petition had gathered more than 5000 signatures. The rest is history.’’

Mrs Farry was widely travelled,and visited many parts of the world with her husband and family.
She was a devout Catholic and helped University of Otago chap¬lain Fr Mark Chamberlain with his communion ministry at Dunedin Hospital.   ‘‘She loved her job so much that she was loath to give it up, even when she was receiving chemotherapy herself,’’ Fr Chamberlain said.   ‘‘That was just her. She was able to give people a better sense of their own dignity and make them feel better about themselves. She had a beautiful, heartfelt presence. She didn’t seem to be able to be negative and she saw the best in everything and everyone.’’

Mrs Farry gave much to many, but her greatest love was for her family, her eldest daughter, Emma, said.
‘‘While Mum was involved in many activities, both profess¬ional and charitable, her primary focus was always her family. She was a wise and remarkable woman and an inspirational mother and grandmother.’’

Mrs Farry is survived by her husband, John, children, Emma, Joseph, Annabel, Claudia and Olivia, and nine grandchildren.

— Nigel Benson