Iris Mooney (left) was on the Langley Memorial Hospital Heritage Committee along with Doris Riedweg. (Langley Advance files)

Iris Mooney brought more than 20,000 Langley babies into the world

Iris Mooney died July 19 and will be honoured in late August with a celebration of life.

There are at least 20,000 people who were held in Iris Mooney’s arms but won’t remember her. She’s credited with that at least many deliveries while a nurse in Langley.

Iris Mooney died July 19 at a Sidney care facility. She had lived in Langley for more than 70 years before moving away to be closer to family and due to failing health.

Born in 1925, she received her nursing credentials in 1947. From the day she graduated from nursing school until she retired in 1985, Mooney seldom missed a day of work, taking only four months off to give birth to her own son, before returning to the local maternity ward.

Mooney spent 38 years working as a nurse, much of her career spent at Langley Memorial Hospital (LMH), and most of that in the role as head nurse of the local maternity ward.

“When we were growing up, we were either a nurse, secretary or a teacher – and I knew I didn’t want to teach or be a secretary,” she recalled.

“It (nursing) is something that you can do to help people. You can go into an office every day, but as a nurse you have people contact and I think that’s very important in life,” she said.

After nursing, she was active in the community and was vocal about the need for residents to have quality health care. She helped found the Langley Memorial Hospital Heritage Committee.

In 1970 she became Langley City’s first woman elected to council. She was a longtime member of Sharon United Church.

Many may know Mooney from her work as the coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau from 1985 to 1995 but she was involved before then.

“The only reason I got into it was because I made a donation,” said Mooney, back in 2003 when the bureau paid tribute to her.

Wanting to give cash to the bureau, she found it had no mechanism for issuing receipts, “so I took it over and got it charity status.”

Mooney also worked for the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

She was named H.D. Stafford Good Citizen of the Year in 1992. She’s also been Langley’s Woman of the Year and its Senior of the Year. Iris Mooney Park is at 4640 209A St. and has, what else, playground equipment for children.

A celebration of life is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Aug. 29 at the United Churches of Langley (former Sharon United Church), 21562 Old Yale Rd. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

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