From humble beginnings, seamstress continues to help others

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

“My life mission is for the love and helping of all people.”

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and raised in Windsor, self-motivated Pamela Murray has had a unique background.

In her younger years, Murray explained she was always involved in dance, and had a love and a passion for entertaining. She loved finding new talent to showcase. She was fresh out of Bruno’s School of Hair Design in Toronto and had just moved back to Windsor when an automobile accident changed her life forever.

“In June 1989, my life changed forever with a horrific car accident resulting in me now being a right leg amputee,” explained Murray. “My desire to do hair professionally and all the hours of hard work was over, but I remembered my love of sewing.”

Since she was a child, Murray had loved to sew. With the help of a friend from school, she started a business plan and learned how to use a computer. She said that was the beginning of her business, Rastafari Dynesty Designs By Dorcus.

“I had very little skills and I opened my first shop on Wyandotte Street in Windsor in 1995,” said Murray. “My first fashion show was in the parking lot of St. John Church, very humble beginning. My shows were very unique and for all ages. We showcased African clothes with live drumming, models and dancing. We did shows in Michigan and as far as Toronto. My love of people and seeing pure joy wanted me to go further. I had a calling.”

Pamela Murray stands with her most recent project, a car seat from a classic car, which she has completely reupholstered from fabric seats to vinyl.

Murray explained she wanted to join the masses and make a difference. She gave up her Canadian rights, packed her bags and travelled to rural areas of third world countries. This is where Murray explained she “met some of the greatest people.”

“These people are hidden and even forgotten about,” said Murray. “I would teach the children basic life skills, help with homework and ethics for work. Things that we don’t even think about, and often taken for granted, like being able to read and write. I would then take the same people young and old and train them. Who wanted to be drummers, who wanted to dance and who wanted to be models, I trained them all. I was teaching them to operate sewing machines. These students were starving to learn and their teacher was ready.”

Murray explained she visited many places by invitation and was always well received. She said everyone she met loved Canada and dreamed of seeing how great our country is. Some of her greatest memories were in Jamaica where she was involved in many shows and her designs were worn by a number of professionals and artists from their music industry.

“They loved me and my endless hours at the sewing machine making and designing school uniforms,” explained Murray. “They would call me a factory because I would work late into the night sewing. Everything that was earned was given back to the community.”

Her most memorable moment was her show, “Santa Claus Comes to the Ghetto,” where, through sponsorships, she was able to provide music, food, drinks and even Santa. The children at the show had never seen Santa Claus. Murray designed the suit and all of the elf clothes, and even had gifts purchased by the sponsors.
“I would do these shows for fund raising for community development,” said Murray. “I raised funds to build school washroom to homes for the elderly.”

Murray adopted five children after their mother died. She put them through school, and raised them to be adults, some of them even have children of their own. Murray said leaving them was the hardest part about returning home, but she had always dreamed about returning. When she came home with just one single suitcase, she didn’t intend on staying.

“I’ve been doing so much for others that I had forgotten about myself,” said Murray.

“I felt instant comfort and the people are so warm and friendly and always willing to offer assistance. I came with one suitcase and now I am living like a Queen because of all the kindness and generosity with the people of Amherstburg and St John (the Baptist) Church.”

Murray lives to serve her current community now, doing clothing alterations, making drapery, pillows and interiors all out of her King St. home. She said there’s nothing she can’t do, and encourages anyone to call her at 519-713-9051 for anything they may need. Since she’s been home, she made friends with Jennifer and Brent Sousie who she said helped to direct her to a whole new level of sewing. Murray even does car seat upholstery, she said she has her friends to thank for it.

“Whether I am in my wheelchair or on my crutches I will work very hard for the people of Amherstburg. I also offer to teach sewing in a group environment,” said Murray. “I have a common sense approach to sewing and I can show how easy sewing can be and I want to share my very special gift.”

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