DAPHNE Parker was the epitome of love.
More than 400 people who attended the Hunter dance icon's funeral yesterday were evidence of her love for life, family, friends and the thousands of students she taught over almost 50 years.
Mrs Parker, 66, lost her brief battle with cancer on November 1 but she continued teaching up to a week before her death.
The celebration of her life in St Peter's Anglican Church, East Maitland, heard how Mrs Parker's passion for her students kept her going.
In a tribute, Mrs Parker's son-in-law Joe Lecleir said: "Daphne has gone to the angels in the sky to correct their dancing."
Her grandson Willsy Parker said his "ma" was now a star in the heavens.
But it was Mrs Parker who "delivered" the final eulogy. Mr Lecleir read a letter she wrote on the eve of her 60th birthday.
"My life has been special and I live in gratitude for every breath I take and for every new morning," she wrote.
"I can now live in love and gratitude for the past 60 years of my life upon this planet in this body in this incarnation.
"I love my life. I love who I am. God always helps me along my path. Take time this very moment to tell someone you love them.
"I come in love, peace, gratitude. I am Daphne Helen Clare."
Mrs Parker's ballet students dressed in tutus to place roses on her coffin before forming a guard of honour.