Irene Mary Shirley (nee Dignam)

May 28, 1935 – May 5, 2021
It is with sadness that Mary, Dermot and Deirdre share the passing of their mother, Irene. From rural Ireland to northern British Columbia, the UK, and ultimately Vancouver, Irene lived a joyous life full of change, adventure, and constant personal growth.
Irene was born in Portarlington, Co. Laois, Ireland and grew up on the family farm with brothers Desmond and Leslie, and sister Muriel. After marrying George Shirley, the couple moved to Canada, settling in the new boomtown of Kitimat, BC. After a few years they returned to Ireland and the UK, then came back (for good!) to Vancouver in 1965.
In Canada, Irene thrived. Her love of books led to a career and lifelong friendships in the Richmond Public Library. She became a passionate runner, college student, gardener extraordinaire and knitter of epic sweaters. Her gift for storytelling led to dozens of short memoirs celebrated in the local creative writing community.
We remember mum for her unconditional love for her family: She always saw the very best in us all, supported us in times of challenge, and glowed as we shared our successes. She was equally proud (as she would often say) of her four ‘perfect’ grandsons.
The family expresses its gratitude to the community and staff at Sunwood Retirement Residence as well as the team from Independence Matters – Mum loved her five years at Sunwood!
Irene is survived by sister, Muriel; brother, Leslie and sister-in-law, Hazel; Daughters Mary (Martin) and Deirdre and son Dermot (Sara): Grandsons Aaron (Rachael), Devin, Jake and Ben and great grandsons Kieran and Declan; as well as many many cousins, nephews and nieces and their families. She is predeceased by husband George and brother Desmond.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to the B.C.S.P.C.A would be appreciated.


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