Obituary: Carmel Stanyer

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Carmel was born Carmela Sofi on March 16, 1969, in Shepparton to Pasqualina and Antonio Sofi.

Affectionately known by her parents as ‘‘the little kangaroo’’, Carmel was the youngest of three and was their first child born in Australia after the family’s migration from Italy.

With a large age gap between Carmel and her siblings Pasquale (Pat) and Domenica (Mim), she was extremely loved and always had a number of people looking after her.

Mim remembers her sister’s warm smile always on display with perfect teeth on show.

Carmel went to kindergarten at St Mel’s before attending Wilmot Rd Primary School and Sacred Heart College (now Notre Dame College).

In November 1989, Carmel met Colin Stanyer at Stray Leaves Caravan Park in Shepparton and the pair wed exactly one year after they met in 1990.

Engaged on her 21st birthday, Colin remembers Carmel as a beautiful bride with long, curly dark hair.

Determined to be a mother, the arrival of her son Joshua in 1995 was a true blessing.

Described as a natural, her experiences being a first-time mother sparked so much joy that the Stanyer family began to grow rapidly.

Ryan was born in 1997, Aimee in 1999 and the family was complete in 2002 with the birth of Abbey.

Mrs Stanyer was always smitten by babies and children and they adored her just as much in return.


Committed to giving her children the best life possible, she invested heavily in all of her children’s pursuits.

Mrs Stanyer’s daughter Aimee says there is not a memory from her childhood that does not feature her mother and they all agreed that family was truly her hobby and passion.

This first became evident when her children attended Kialla Children’s Centre, as she quickly became involved in fundraising efforts.

At Kialla West Primary School, she did several volunteer roles and eventually became a staff member.

When her children began school at Shepparton Christian College, she became involved in the parents committee and helped organised the canteen.

Three years ago, Mrs Stanyer took on the role of business manager at Harston Primary School.

She loved working at a small, rural school and was adored by all the staff and students.

She also worked for a number of other primary schools including Mooroopna North PS, St Georges Rd PS and Dhurringile PS, becoming a valued and loved team member.

She is remembered by her family as being clever on computers, always helping people with any issues.

For the past 17 years, Mrs Stanyer was involved in the soccer community supporting Shepparton South Soccer Club, Shepparton Junior Soccer Association and the Victorian Champions League.

These included a number of roles over the years including the organisation of registrations, being a committee member, running the canteen and above all, being the number one cheerleader for her four children over the years.

Anything her children were interested in she would be the first to put up her hand and be involved in.

Compassion for all

An animal lover at heart, pets always multiplied in the Stanyer household.

Mrs Stanyer always said she would never let the children have a dog, but after many years of begging she finally relented and Teddy joined the family.

She quickly became obsessed with the family pet, taking numerous selfies with her beloved family member.

Shortly after Teddy’s sister Charlotte was added to the pack and then a puppy named Alfie as well as two cats.

At Christmas last year, the family surprised her with a chicken coop and four chickens.

The present brought Mrs Stanyer to tears after making it known she was interested in owning chickens for many years.

The family remember her as loving and compassionate, making sure their partners and friends were also fed and loved.

Above all, they fondly remember her sense of humour and love of a laugh and a joke.

She was so proud of her children and never put any pressure on them to be anything other than themselves.

As long as they were happy she was happy.


A sentimental woman, Mrs Stanyer was passionate about keeping Italian traditions alive, especially when it came to cooking.

Known by all as an amazing cook, she was famous for her potato croquettes.

A recipe passed down from her mother, it was only her hands that could replicate the recipe to the same high standards.

Christmas was a special time for the whole family, with croquettes undoubtedly on the menu surrounded by some of her mother’s famous Italian recipes including schnitzels and lasagne.

Another happy memory for the family includes annual week-long trips to Merimbula in NSW, spending time by the beach relaxing.

Love for all

Mrs Stanyer would often say she felt she was a doctor in a past life, due to her special ability to diagnose any illness through instinct.

This was something her loved ones always believed in, making Mrs Stanyer the first person everyone would call on for advice.

Mrs Stanyer was always willing to help, making everyone around her feel loved, special and important.

Known by so many in the community, her family lovingly recalls a number of times when Mrs Stanyer would be held up at the shops or around town after being stopped for a chat.

She enjoyed these encounters and was always interested in those around her.

A huge loss

Mrs Stanyer will be remembered for her giving nature, huge heart and warm smile.

Her funeral was on Tuesday at St Mel’s Catholic Church in Shepparton.

The family said it was an event she would have been proud of, filled with love from the whole community.

Mrs Stanyer’s family would like to thank all who attended the funeral, sent well wishes and for the donations and contributions provided for Carmel’s memorial garden.

The garden will be created in the backyard of the Stanyer family home and will include purple flowers, a favourite colour of hers.

Mr Stanyer would also like to thank the emergency services who attended the scene of his wife’s accident for their support, patience and empathy during the incident.