It is with broken hearts that we share the passing of Irene Smith, beloved wife of husband James (Jim) Smith and mother of Jeffrey Smith (Louise Grègoire), Kirstie Steip (Al Steip) and Elizabeth Wyatt (Joe Wyatt). Irene is survived by her sister Mary Ganson. She was a devoted and loving Grandma to Ethan, Glenn and Michael Steip and Gillian Wyatt.
Born in Johnstone, Irene grew up in Paisley, Scotland. She attended Jordanhill College School in Glasgow where she received her teaching certificate.
Shortly thereafter she emigrated to Canada in October 1957 and married Jim on November 30. Their marriage lasted 64 years. She also began her career as a teacher in Toronto practically the day after her plane landed! During the next four years, Irene balanced teaching with her other lifelong career as mum to three children under the age of five!
Following a move to Mississauga, she became a stay-at-home mum and it must be said that she did an awesome job!
The family moved to Puslinch, the mighty township just outside of Guelph, in 1972. It was here, on the 11th Concession, that she found new friendships through her love of playing Bridge. Irene was an excellent and enthusiastic player. She learned to cross country ski and would take in the fresh country air daily after the kids had hopped on the bus for school. It was always exciting to come home from school and see that mum had spent her day cutting out patterns, pinning fabric and sewing the latest patterns for new outfits while at the same time baking heaps of cookies for three hungry kids!
A short time later she, along with her good friend Cathy Burns, opened The Bathtub Ring, a bath boutique in downtown Guelph. They had contemplated naming the store The Royal Flush (Guelph is known as The Royal City) but decided that the good citizens weren’t ready for that, and cooler heads prevailed.
When the kids were in a mix of high school and college, Irene went back to school herself to improve upon her already excellent piano playing. At friend and family gatherings it was certain that Irene would be at the piano accompanying Jim as he sang. That is the stuff that memories are made of!
After Jim sold his business, Irene’s next career became world traveller with Jim. They travelled together extensively, and in recent years loved to especially go on cruises (Holland America 4 Star Mariners!) Irene was an expert packer!
Irene and Jim loved to spend their winters in Florida enjoying the warm weather and playing golf. They built their dream home just a country mile down the 11th Concession after the kids had moved away. It was their summer place where friends and family gathered to swim, play tennis, and celebrate the holidays together.
Irene’s greatest pleasure was talking on the phone and visiting with her four grandchildren. She was always keen to know what they were up to and delighted in hearing about their lives.
Irene was a remarkable lady. Her mixture of humour, cleverness, style and compassion has left its mark on all of us. We miss her dearly.
The family would like to give thanks to her doctors, the care teams at Guelph General Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and Home and Community Support Services Waterloo-Wellington. We are grateful.
Arrangements entrusted to the WALL-CUSTANCE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL 519-822-0051 / www.wallcustance.com.
Donations in memory of Irene can be made to your charity of choice and is much appreciated by the Smith family.
A tree will be planted in memory of Irene Smith in the Wall-Custance Memorial Forest.