CAROL Tasker, who has died aged 103, could stake a claim to be Oxford’s oldest teacher – working until she was 94.
Tributes have been paid to Mrs Tasker who passed away on Saturday at the Isis Care Home in Cornwallis Road, Oxford, where she had spent the final few months of her life.
Mrs Tasker lived in Mill Lane, Old Marston, for more than 60 years and was well known in the community.
She taught soft furnishing and upholstery at Oxford College of Further Education – now City of Oxford College – for 35 years, passing on the skills she had learned at the London College of Furniture to hundreds of students.
Her career had started late, at the age of 49 in 1959, and when college officials suddenly realised she was 84, she was reluctantly forced to retire.
But that did not stop her. She continued to teach at West and North Oxford community centres until 2004.
In Old Marston she was a member of the Over-50s group and chairwoman Gill Wells said she had a great personality and had given talks about her life.
Mrs Wells said: “She had an interesting life. She was a lady with an indomitable spirit. We loved having her at the club. And although she had been too poorly to attend the club, she will be missed terribly by us all.”
Old Marston Parish Council chairman Charlie Haynes said: “She was involved in Mortimer Hall with my mother and father, that’s going back about 50 years. I would say without people like her it would never have been built.”
Mrs Tasker was born in Kingston, Surrey, in 1910. She married her first husband, Charlie, in 1930, but a year after their son Alan was born in 1934, Charlie died of tuberculosis.
She met her second husband George at Aldershot while he was serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps at the local barracks and she was helping to run her mother’s restaurant.
George was a regular and one busy night, she asked him to help with the washing up. He agreed, and romance blossomed in the kitchen.
The couple moved to Oxfordshire in 1946 when George got a job as a public health inspector with Bullingdon Rural District Council, covering Wheatley and surrounding villages.
They had three children and with the family growing up, Mrs Tasker was encouraged to pursue her own career.
On her 100th birthday, celebrated at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons at Great Milton in 2010, she said: “I have had a colourful life.”
She attributed her long life to “healthy eating and a doting husband”.
In a statement, her family said: “We were blessed to have her for so long.
“She was an incredibly strong person who will be missed by all.”
Mrs Tasker, whose husband died in 2000, leaves two sons, Alan and Kenneth, two daughters, Judith and Carolyn, nine grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.
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