Long-time Rotorua resident, community and theatre stalwart June Ridings was farewelled at a memorial service on Sunday.
She was the widow of general practitioner turned medical superintendent for Rotorua and Whakatane hospitals, Dr Keith Ridings, who died in January 2012.
June Ridings died on October 27, shortly after her 90th birthday.
After her memorial service, her ashes were buried at the Rotorua Cemetery where her son, Kingsley Ridings, unveiled a plaque commemorating both his parents.
June and Keith Ridings' initial meeting was a dramatic one. Both were on stage, she was singing, he was playing the violin.
"For him it was love at first sight, it took her a little bit longer to warm to him," daughter Dr Penny Ridings, a retired diplomat, said in a tribute to her mother at the memorial service.
She outlined how her parents brought their joint love of theatre to Rotorua, her father's home town, in the early 1950s when he went into general practice.
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Together they became early members of the then Operatic Society (today's Rotorua Musical Theatre) and the Little Theatre (now The Shambles), regularly appearing in productions together, with Dr Ridings a regular fixture in the orchestra pit playing either piano or violin.
As their four children grew, June Ridings founded a children's theatre group.
Penny Ridings said her parents had one difference of opinion. Her father believed they should arrive at a function "on the dot", her mother preferred to be 15 minutes late.
"She'd paint her nails, then insist they had to wait until they dried."
Always beautifully dressed and elegantly groomed, June Ridings opened a fashion shop in the then Geyser Court in the 1970s, K&J Fashions, incorporating both their initials.
The Ridings' were keen members of the Wine and Food Society and enthusiastic entertainers – so much so that when her husband was Director-General of Health in Samoa, his wife spotted a man she recognised in a market and invited him to dinner.
"It turned out she'd never actually met him, it was television personality Ian Johnston, he accepted and they had a lovely evening," Penny said.
When her husband joined the Alliance Party and stood for Parliament, June Ridings was his principal fundraiser – doing a roaring trade selling her homemade soup in the Redwoods.
Shortly before her husband's death, a stroke robbed his wife of the power of speech, but the day her husband collapsed and died suddenly at a local café she spoke four words.
"Clear as a bell she said: 'I was so happy'," Penny said.
June Ridings was a loving and much-loved mother of four children, grandmother of eight, four great-grandchildren and sister of Zandra Fleming.