Irene passed away peacefully at the Irene Thomas Hospice on August 18,2022 in her 99th year.
Irene was born in London, England to Thomas and Rhoda Rawlings. She spent many summers at the English seaside as a child. After graduating, Irene enlisted in the British ATS where she served as a corporal from 1941-1944 in Scotland.
She immigrated to Canada in 1944 and made her way to Vancouver later that year. In 1949 she met Gordon Grant at his jazz record store on Cambie street and they married on Feb.8, 1950.
In the early 1960’s they moved to Point Roberts because Gordon’s family had a summer home there. In time, they had two children Allan and Paula and eventually moved to Boundary Bay for their children’s schooling.
Irene worked for BC Ferries for 26 years and was well known for being a colorful Union Rep!
After her retirement, she was able to pursue a number of hobbies. First and foremost was her love of animals and she always had a dog to walk!! She loved technology and purchased a home computer when they first became available, and the internet opened a whole new world for her. In time, she learned to use an iPad right up to her last days and regularly emailed, purchased on-line and facetimed with family and friends. Irene was the keeper of the family stories from long ago and she and her cousin Michael continued to correspond up until June of this year. She was an avid knitter and crocheter and loved to share her projects with family and friends. Irene continued to love being on the sea and cruised to a number of countries. Many neighbours in Boundary Bay will remember how active Irene stayed and won’t soon forget her tricycle rides and later zipping around on her scooter!
Her husband Gordon passed away in 1999 and although difficult, Irene had a great love of Boundary Bay and her neighbors, and this community had always looked out for her and included her as good friends!! Irene found her beloved Jack, a miniature poodle, on Craig’s list and it was love at first sight and they spent many happy years together. After Jack passed, Irene offered to be a dog sitter to Rufus and ended up finding her best friend Jade. A huge thanks to Charry who was Irene’s roommate for the last 6 years and took such good care and had great patience with her.
Irene is pre-deceased by her niece Joan Van Blerk and Cousin Jean Clark.
Irene is survived by her son Allan and wife Lucille, grandson Kai, daughter Paula and husband Stephen and cousins Michael and Mary Kimber.
The family would like to thank all the Fraser Health staff who made it possible for Irene to stay in her home independently for so many years! We also greatly appreciate the compassionate care from the staff at the Irene Thomas Hospice.
“Good night, Irene!”
Irene requested that there not be any service.
You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence.
Please click on the link below if you would like to see “Irene’s Story” with music from one of her favorite singers, Sarah Vaughan.
Irene and I met when she popped in to see a home I was showing down the street. Over the winter months she would return on Sundays afternoons bringing me sweet treats and “making sure I was ok in that house alone”. We soon became friends. Irene, Jack and I would watch movies, we’d share in potluck dinners. She taught me how to make her delicious white bread. However I never did get the recipe down pat. Irene loved to learn about many things. As should would do her own tarot card readings she would pull cards for me and then email images of those cards. Irene introduced me to the Secret Garden which is not so secret now. Years ago I took video footage of Irene on her tricycle. I sure hope I can find that footage. For me, Irene (Rene as she liked to be called) was part mum, part sister but mostly a dear friend. I will miss her but am so grateful for the memories and the gifts she left behind.
I only got to know Irene in the last year, after purchasing her tricycle, which has been great fun. I wish I had known her longer. What a bright, interesting, and talented woman! I am 18 years younger, but could have learned a lot for her about what I could do on my iPad. I sit now with a shawl that she knit over my shoulders and think of our visits. I will miss her. Thanks Paula and Stephen for reaching out and keeping us all informed and sharing the lovely obituary.
We loved having Irene as our neighbour and friend for so many years. She was such a dear friend to my Dad as well and they looked after each other and found many things to talk about and laugh about. I cherish all the fuzzy slippers she knitted for us. Buddy still runs over to the house for a visit and she always had treats and toys hidden for him to hunt out. We will miss you Irene. Love Susan Don and Buddy
Irene was a wonderful neighbour and lovely lady She used to come and rescue me when my son wouldn’t stop crying as a baby Irene would pack him up in the pram and take him for walks Sending lots of love and hugs to her friends and family . I know she will be happy with Gord again
Rest in Peace dear Irene. I will remember the wonderful times, travel and meals we have shared in the past. We met when we both worked for BC Ferries in about 1978 when you worked in the gift shop, oh those were the days. You were always full of fun and very crafty, at times we would knit together. You encouraged me to get a computer..... Thank you. Now what would I do without my iPad and smart phone, you started my love of technology. Thinking of you my dear friend, with love❤️.
Lovely memories of a lovely lady! Now having a well-earned rest. x