On Saturday, July 10, Cynthia Shakespeare died in a car accident on the way to a tramping trip. With her death we have lost a wonderfully enthusiastic and energetic member of the Skeptics.
She explained that she attended the skeptics conferences because it was almost the only place where she could meet interesting people with the same sensible and rational approach to life that she had. I don’t think she missed many conferences.
As a founding member of the Wellington Skeptics she helped organise the early meetings in Wellington and also a number of the Wellington skeptics conferences. She booked the locations for the conference, and coordinated the different activities such as the conference dinner. And, in particular, she enjoyed acting as hostess, giving a warm welcome to those attending.
I don’t think I know anyone who had so much energy. She was always active, never stood still. She went on courses, joined groups, was a long-time member of the New Zealand Family Planning Association where whe was a counsellor, and she worked as a volunteer in schools.
She was interested in all sports and ensured that during the summer she swam every day in the harbour (yes, even in Wellington), she played tennis at the local club, and, in the winter, went tramping every weekend. Often when she went on long trips she would sleep in a little tent rather than go to an expensive motel. Latterly, her main interest was her family; three married children and now a number of grandchildren, the latest born only a month or so ago. As grandmothers do, she helped out and visited whenever she could.
But it was her fascination with people that I will remember most. She would introduce herself to anyone and before long become bosom friends, always remembering their name, their occupation, and be able to discuss their children. This was particularly evident at the conferences where whe was quickly able to make new members feel at home.
We will miss Cynthia whenever we meet as Skeptics.
Prof G A (Tony) Vignaux, Mathematical and Computing Sciences, Victoria University