Yvonne Pye was a director of Pye Homes, and a benefactor for many organisations across Oxfordshire.

The sixth child of seven, she was born in 1936 in a small town on the Madras Calcutta railway, 130 miles North of Madras.

Her father, Mervyn Charles Roze, was a railwayman and her mother Ida came from Irish/French ancestors.

A contented family life came to an abrupt end with the death of her father when Yvonne was only six.

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When she was 17 Yvonne’s mother died of cancer, so she went to live with two older sisters, first in Madras and then Kuala Lumpur.

It was here that she started her first job with the trading company Harrison and Crossfield.

In 1960, Yvonne moved to Singapore and started working for Shell.

The following year Yvonne took advantage of Shell’s sabbatical programme and had a year off to visit London.

While working as a secretary for Charlie Forte in Albemarle Street, Yvonne met her future husband, Graham Pye.

Their long-standing marriage was the mainstay of their lives, and were much-beloved bons viveurs in Oxford.

They made life fun for many, but they also worked hard to build up Pye Homes, the sale of which to the Blenheim Estate Mrs Pye oversaw in 2019.

Pye Homes has been building houses in Oxfordshire for almost a century and is now based at Langford Locks, Kidlington.

The Pyes were generous benefactors to an array of organisations across the county: Magdalen College School, Harris Manchester College, The Organic Farm, The Post Natal Depression Society, University College, Mansfield College, Headington School and many more.

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One of Mr and Mrs Pye’s great loves was music.

When Music at Oxford got into financial difficulties, Graham rescued it and became its chairman.

Yvonne and Graham provided financial support to bring world class orchestras and well-known musicians to give concerts in Oxford, which could be enjoyed by all.

They also provided financial support for young musicians.

Mrs Pye became the Life President of the organisation.

Yvonne worked alongside her husband Graham in all his projects.

She was kind, generous and enjoyed the company of others, and had that admirable but rare virtue of being willing to share her friends with others, and to bring people together.

Mrs Pye’s death, aged 85, brings to an end a chapter in the history of Oxfordshire.

But her generosity and the support she gave to the community will be remembered for years to come, with affection, admiration and gratitude.

Oxford Mail:

On July 3, Yvonne Pye was added to the bidding prayer at Magdalen College School’s commemoration day. She died in January.

Magdalen College School’s best-known celebration, Commemoration, takes place on the last Saturday of full term in the Trinity Term. Instituted by CE Brownrigg and first held on June 23, 1906, this has been a regular fixture in the school calendar ever since.

The day starts with a service the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. There is a full recitation of the dozens of names of the benefactors of the school, including founder William of Waynflete, Thomas Wolsey and Saint Thomas More.

Yvonne Pye was only the second woman to be added to the recitation, and the first in 150 years.