A sigh, a breath, a single heartbeat was too great a distance for the love that Iris and Vernon Irvin shared for over 70 years. So Iris stepped back into Vernon’s loving embrace on February 4th, 2020, a mere nine days after his own heavenly home-coming, free at last from the disease that restricted her for so long. Those listening closely could hear the sweet music of joyous reunion when Iris, Vernon and their cherished daughter Becky gathered in their Father’s glorious mansion.
The daughter of John Henry Harding and Hazel Florence Sexson Harding, Iris was born on June 6, 1927 in Goodland, KS. After graduating from Goodland High School, Iris attended Brown Mackie College in Salina, KS. Upon completion, Iris returned to Goodland where she was employed as a legal secretary to her cousin, attorney Max L. Jones. It was there that she met the dashing Vernon Irvin. He fell immediately for her sparkling green eyes, sweet smile and keen intelligence. They were married October 30, 1949 in Goodland, where they made their home.
Iris was a devoted wife and tremendous support to Vernon in the building of their successful farming enterprise. A loving and dedicated mother, she volunteered - or was volunteered by her children - for innumerable school and church activities. A most gifted and creative person, Iris excelled at just about any project she undertook. Her family cherishes the quilts, afghans, cross stitch, decoupage and other hand-made treasures she created. She was equally skilled in the kitchen, and her grandchildren still crave her Shipwreck Casserole, her incredible cinnamon rolls, her delicious fresh corn dishes and special home-made ice cream. Music and laughter filled the rooms and coming to Grandma’s house was always a high adventure and yearned-for opportunity. Iris had a passion for genealogy long before the Internet made it a popular and effortless undertaking. Her quests for information took her to Salt Lake City, Dodge City and beyond. She wrote innumerable letters, searched archival sources and followed every possible lead to reap the limbs and leaves of her family tree and the rich stories of their ancestry, a precious heritage for her family.
Very active in her community, Iris was a devout member of the Goodland United Methodist Church, the church Women’s Circle, EHU and DAR, serving in official roles in each organization for many years. She looked forward to the monthly Class and Cousin coffees, visiting with friends and extended family.
In addition to her beloved husband Vernon, Iris was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Lowell, Dale, and Warren Harding, and her cherished eldest child Rebecca Jane Irvin Smith. She is survived by her adoring children Patricia Irvin O’Brien (Terry) of Basehor, KS, Douglas Irvin (Jeanne) of Goodland, KS, and Michael Irvin (Robin) of Mesa, AZ, and her son-in-law Michael Smith (Elizabeth) of Tallahassee, FL. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She leaves behind a rich legacy of love, generosity, strength and faith.
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