Irene Willis Murray, aged 103 from East Grand Rapids, MI, most recently at Beacon Hill, passed away peacefully at her home on March 3, 2023.
Born November 3, 1919 in Rockville, CT to Eleanor and Alvin Willis, Irene graduated from Windham High School in 1938 before attending Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing. Upon graduating as a registered nurse, Irene enlisted US Army as a commissioned officer in the First General Field Hospital stationed in North Africa during WWII.
She met Robert Murray on a blind date while stationed in North Africa. While on holiday leave during WWII, Irene and Robert got married on Christmas Day in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City in 1944. Robert and Irene moved to East Grand Rapids after the war, where they were happily married for 70 years until Robert’s passing in 2014.
Irene and Robert were active and involved in the community, joining the Grand Rapids Yacht Club in 1953, where they regularly spent their summer weekends sailing together in their Rebel sailboat, and popping popcorn after races for the other members.
Irene and Robert spent significant time at their cabin on the Baldwin River in Baldwin, MI, which they purchased in 1978. There, the two would spend time on hikes throughout the woods, daily walks, and (weather permitting) cross-country skiing.
An avid gardener, Irene enjoyed working in the yard and with her flowers throughout her life, could be counted on for a loving embrace in her family and friends’ times of need, and rarely missed a cocktail hour offering.
Irene is preceded in death by her parents (Eleanor and Alvin Willis), sister Shirley Bentley (Neal), husband Robert, daughter-in-law Carol and Granddaughter Shivaun. She is survived by her sons Louis and David (Ann), grandsons Brian (Kristie), Tim (Molly) and Shane, and great-grandson Elliott.
A family graveside service was held on March 15, 2023 at Woodlawn Cemetery.
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