Whanganui potter and teacher April Pearson passed away on October 4 at the age of 76, surrounded by her family.
Pearson was well-known and well-loved throughout Whanganui after decades of involvement in the local community, and in 1975 was a founding member of the Whanganui Potters Society. It was only this year that she retired from running community pottery classes at their studio on Taupo Quay.
Her elder daughter Sheila Pearson, also an artist, said she and her siblings Derek and Amber counted themselves very lucky to have grown up with their mother in a "rich, creative environment with an eclectic assortment of interests".
"We made a playlist for Mum's funeral that had Radiohead and opera in it because that's what she was like, she was totally open to things," Pearson said.
"I told my partner recently, with my mother in the room, about how lively and out of control we three kids were, and how some people would say 'oh God, here come the Pearsons'.
"Her response to that was 'I loved it, I loved how spirited you all were'."
Pearson was born in South Shields, England, and moved to New Zealand in 1955. She and her husband Ken settled in Whanganui 52 years ago.
Whanganui Potters Society president Jim Farley said he had been taught by Pearson when she ran a pottery course at Whanganui Polytech "quite some time ago", and that she always gave up her time for others and "thought nothing of it".
"It's almost too difficult to describe how helpful she was to people," Farley said.
"Nothing was too much trouble for her, and she seemed to have a way that a lot of people don't have.
"She'd do anything for anybody, pretty much. She is really going to be missed by the potters, and by everyone, really."
Pearson said her mother loved to experience new things, without any hint of prejudice.
"She would go up to someone covered in tattoos and say 'oh, your facial tattoos are just beautiful'.
"I think she would have been a great writer if she'd chosen to pursue it, just because of that openness she had."
As well as being a life member of the Whanganui Potters Society, she was also accorded that honour from Wanganui Repertory Theatre and Citizens Advice Bureau, where she volunteered for many years.
Nadine Rayner, of Repertory Theatre, said Pearson was "a friend to everyone, and the ultimate positive thinker".
"April and her husband Ken were involved in the Rep for a long time, and she took over the play-reading group in 2007," Rayner said.
"If you had a difference of opinion with her she never bore a grudge, it was 'that was yesterday and this is today'. She was always very nice, and she was always very nice to other people."
Pearson said she was grateful to both her mother and father for encouraging her to pursue anything she wanted to do.
"We had to point out to Mum that because she and Dad had been those kinds of parents, we weren't going to be able to pay for her to go to Jane Winstone [retirement village].
"I said 'you didn't think that through did you? If you'd made us be doctors and lawyers you'd be sitting pretty right now'.
"She laughed, because Jane Winstone was the last place she wanted to go."
April had taught her to "greet adversity with laughter", Pearson said.
"Towards the end she said she had another infection, she didn't want to go through the treatment again, and that she was happy to go.
"She had a wicked sense of humour, right up to the time she died. We spent all of that last day laughing and singing around her hospital bed and we had to be told to be quiet by the nurses because there were six people.
"She was right there with us, it was amazing."
April Ann Pearson's funeral was held at the Eulogy Lounge at the Whanganui Racecourse on October 13. She is survived by her children Sheila, Derek and Amber, and her grandchildren Maia and Liya.