Artist's work will long endure

Margery Simpson
Margery Simpson

Margery Simpson's flair for line and colour is in so many Southland interiors.

It is on the walls of homes where she taught how to paint and marble and rag, in the interior of the historic WEA building in Esk St where she redesigned all the finishes after the building's century-on upgrade, and in so many other homes and commercial buildings designed by her architect husband Bob Simpson and finished off by Margery.

She'd studied paint effects with Auckland artist Sylvia Sanford and passed on her own knowledge in classes here, painting herself about 70 rooms and dozens of pieces of furniture and household items.

She could turn her hand to any art form, from sketching city buildings and fellow women artists with her mentor Julia Faithful to designing and knitting wonderful warm colourful scarves, and hats too.

On Sunday mornings she was one of "the running girls," flying through Queens Park with Caroline Corkhill and Margo Pryde, out and on to half and then full marathons.

Ten years ago something slowed down and then she was diagnosed with a severe form of Parkinsons which was to take an awful toll.

But Margery's natural energy and empathy and her husband's ability to see new ways of doing things helped enormously. Bob and Margery travelled, went to shows, worked as a team on producing the Southland historical record Murihiku, co- ordinating contributors and publication, publicity and promotion.

Margery was Bob's right-hand man in his architecture practice run from their Leet St home.

He'd designed the top turret room where Margery looked out and all round and did so many sketches, fine pencil drawings and delicate water colours of the city.

When she could no longer reach her tower room, life did change.

The girl who'd been born to Sydney and Lily King and loved that farm life, became in need of first residential and then hospital-level care at Calvary.

Bob and Margery this year celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary with their children and grandchildren. Margery passed away quietly at Calvary last month at the age of 64. She had bequeathed her mortal remains to the Otago Medical Research Foundation and her husband and family honoured that request. In her passing, Margery leaves those she has loved - her husband Bob, sons Duncan and Cameron and Cameron's Jocelyn, daughter Jenny and husband John Te Amo, and grandchildren Brook Simpson and Chloe Te Amo. She leaves a memory of courage based on a strong family commitment of love.

The Southland Times