With our community practising self-isolation due to the Covid19 virus, the passing of a well-known and much respected member of our community may have gone unnoticed.
The grand old dame, Caris Roarty, 99, passed away on March 26th.
Caris moved with her husband Keith to Pambula Beach in the mid 1970's.
Within a few years she began to work tirelessly for her new local community and she has left a wonderful legacy behind her.
Caris was born in Victoria in 1920. She experienced the Great Depression as a child and witnessed poverty and hardship firsthand. That experience was to help shape her core values of compassion, fairness and the need to work hard to achieve goals.
After some years working in factories, she found a way to enrol as a nurse in Gippsland despite not having the educational qualifications to be accepted into any of the big Melbourne hospitals.
Nursing led to joining the Air Force during WW2 and meeting the young RAAF officer she was to marry.
The next 20 years was a flurry of packing and unpacking as the young couple were posted from state to state, base to base, with their three children.
Pambula Beach was chosen as their beautiful Camelot in which to retire.
At first there was lots of golf, fishing and gardening but gradually Caris became aware that many others were also retiring in the area and there was a pressing need for services to support an aging community.
A committee was set up to convince the government of this need and Caris was one of the original members of that committee.
As a result of that lobbying effort, Imlay Nursing Home was established.
However it was clear that the Nursing Home was going to require ongoing financial support.
To achieve this, the idea of a Pambula op shop was born and Caris was integral to its running for many years. In fact she remained The Pambula Op Shop's treasurer into her 90's.
Caris was honoured to have the new wing of Imlay House named after her.
Caris's nursing background meant she was also aware of the needs of a small regional hospital. So as well as her work for the nursing home she became actively involved with the management of the Pambula Hospital and served on the board for many years until it was disbanded.
She also helped write the history of the hospital which involved locating and researching around 100 years of hospital minutes.
Other much deserved recognitions she earned have included Rotary's Paul Harris Award, the Bega Valley Shire Council Citizen of the Year and the Merimbula Rotary Australia Day Award. Caris's legacy has also been a personal one.
Both her daughter Michele and son-in-law Peter Bootes have been inspired to follow in her footsteps of service to their community.
They have also now been recipients of the Bega Valley Shire Council Citizen of the Year awards.
Sadly, due to the coronavirus restrictions, the funeral was very small but Caris was in so many ways an outstanding woman and she will be remembered and missed by many - neighbours, ex-colleagues, home nursing carers, friends and family.
Vale Caris Roarty and thank you.