She was renowned for being the first to arrive at a party and the last to leave. It was this and other endearing exuberances that will be remembered most about June Stevenson Pick, who has died at the age of 79.
Her birth date – October 31, Halloween – set the stage for her colourful life. She trained as a dancer from an early age in her home town of Leicester and went on to teach ballet, tap and modern dancing at schools she ran with her sister, Avril.
As dedicated as she was to dancing, “she had time to do a bit of courting,” Avril recalls. This led to marriage to an international accountant and many years of high-society living in the Caribbean tax-haven of Nassau in the Bahamas.
The marriage fell apart following their retirement to the Algarve in the early 70s, but June was to find a new and more devoted relationship with her second husband, Roger Stevenson Pick. Among other things, they enjoyed a complementary sense of humour.
Behind her fondness for prudish English etiquette, antique silverware, ostentatious jewellery, OTT haute couture and coiffured blond curls lay a Leicestershire lass with a disarming sense of fun. She once turned up a poolside party on a sun-drenched winter’s day dressed in a white mink coat and matching hat. Cheeky comments from men would invariably be rebuffed with the warning that they were “cruising for a bruising”.
The exhaustive partying continued apace until the untimely death in 2005 of her only child, Grenville, aged just 36. Deeply grieved, her dancing days were instantly over. Her ebullient behaviour mellowed all the more when she suffered a series of health set-backs. They culminated in her death in Barlavento Hospital on February 12.
Family and friends gathered by her coffin in Lagoa’s Misericórdia Church last week to pay their last respects. She leaves her husband Roger, sister Avril, daughter-in-law Suzanne and grandchild Max.
An appropriate party of remembrance is planned, though no date has yet been fixed. June will be there. At least in spirit, she will be the first to arrive and the last to leave.