A pioneering nurse ahead of her time, a champion for patients, a community stalwart, a keen cook and gardener and a kind carer for her two ageing aunts - Catherine Scrimgeour will be farewelled in Whanganui this week.
She died peacefully at Kowhainui Home on November 14, aged 102, and is probably most remembered as a consummate nurse.
Colleague Betty Simpson worked with Catherine during her 19 years as matron of Wanganui Hospital Board. She said Catherine had high standards and a "business side", as well as a heart of gold.
Catherine helped plan the Lambie nurses' home, opened in 1960. She made sure it had good carpet and curtains, a piano and "two decent irons" for the nurses to use.
"She used to say that the nurses deserve every penny," her long-time friend Ailsa Stewart said.
Catherine was born in Auckland on August 14, 1917, and brought up by her two aunts in rural Hawke's Bay. One of them took her to Otane School in a horse and buggy.
She was in her early teenage years when the Napier earthquake struck, and was lucky to be alive after a brick wall collapsed at her school.
Catherine began her nursing training at Palmerston North Hospital in January 1939 and graduated as a registered nurse in 1942.
Carrying on there, she was promoted to sister in the men's surgical ward in 1945. There she nursed New Zealand soldiers returning from concentration camps in Asia. They were emaciated and exhausted, and needed physical, emotional and spiritual care.
Red Cross volunteers to practise community outreach
GoCard replaced by Bee Card for bus travel
Harete Hipango: Our booming city, Whanganui on the up
In 1947 Catherine went to Dunedin to train as a Plunket nurse. She then worked for Plunket in Otago and Auckland for four years before deciding to return to hospitals.
She was first sub-matron at Nelson Hospital, then moved to Wanganui Hospital becoming supervising matron in 1954. She often talked of her early years at Whanganui - the old buildings, worn-out equipment and scarcity of staff.
She began offering inservice training to her nursing staff in 1958 - which was ahead of her time, Stewart said. She chaired the committee organising Whanganui's first nurses' reunion in the same year.
As matron, Catherine was in charge of the hospital's kitchen, laundry and sewing room as well as its nurses, six rural hospitals and Jubilee Hospital for the elderly.
In 1964 she was one of a group from New Zealand who went to an international council of nurses in Germany.
Through all this, she continued to visit her aunts in Waipawa. In 1973, when they became fragile, she retired from nursing. She was still in her 50s and looked after them in the house she had planned and had built for herself in Sedgebrook St, Whanganui East.
"They were cared for like queens," Stewart said.
Catherine loved cooking, and even baked their own bread. She also loved her garden and grew all kinds of fruit - lemonades, persimmons, avocados. She grew roses, and her favourite flowers were Otaki pinks.
She was active in the community too - on the board of Hikurangi Residential Home, a loyal Presbyterian churchgoer, a president of the National Council of Women's Whanganui branch and of the local nurses' organisation. She was a great supporter of Bason Botanic Gardens and the Whanganui Regional Museum.
After her aunts died, aged 101 and 99, Catherine had a chance to travel. She went to China, the United States, Canada, Alaska and Newfoundland, and she cruised the coast of Australia.
In 2011, with the onset of dementia, she went into care in a Springvale rest home. Stewart visited her there every day, and said she was well cared for.
Her funeral takes place on November 23 and she is survived by many cousins.