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Smedley, Irene Margaret

September 21, 1928 - September 16, 2017


Irene was born in Yorkshire, England, on September 21, 1928, but moved with her family to London soon afterward. She had 7 sisters and 1 brother. When she was 11 years old, war broke out. Because of the bombing in London, she and her 4 younger siblings, were evacuated to the countryside to escape the dangers and live with strangers. It was a difficult time for all of them. Following the war, when the re-building had begun, she met Eric, whom she married in 1951. Soon after getting married, they moved to Canada. Eric’s job took him to many places across the country, and Irene moved with him. They lived in several towns and cities across the prairies – Rosetown, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. In Winnipeg, Irene worked as court reporter in the family court, where her excellent shorthand was used to record the court proceedings. Irene and Eric’s daughter Elaine was born in Winnipeg.  A year and a half later they were on their way to their next home in Toronto, where their son Jack was born.

Toronto was the place in which they finally settled down. Irene stayed home with her two children, but always tried to find ways to keep herself busy with other things outside of the home. She volunteered with the church, and later the Waldorf School, which her two children attended. Irene became very involved with the Waldorf movement. She became a handwork teacher at the school for a few years, and later, together with her friend, became a serious fundraiser for the school. She and Eric also got very involved with Biodynamic farming. They often visited farms, and she looked after the certification process.

Never afraid to try new things, Irene tobogganed, learned to skate, ski, do synchronized swimming, and even went down a water slide when she was about 80! She also enjoyed doing Tai Chi and yoga.  Over her many years, she took piano lessons, learned how to play recorder, draw and paint, and was an avid reader. When Irene was in her late 50’s she decided to get a university degree, majoring in French, in which she was already quite proficient. Unfortunately she was unable to complete it because she and Eric decided to follow Irene’s sister and her husband – who they were very close with – to the warmer climate of Vancouver Island. Irene and Eric’s two adult children and grandchildren lived in Calgary, making visiting much easier, and creating many wonderful memories.

Once in Duncan, Irene and Eric again got involved with the Waldorf community. They also sang in choirs, volunteered at Providence farm, and enjoyed time with their many friends and family.

She was predeceased by her son Jack just 8 months before. She is survived by her husband Eric, of 66 years, her daughter Elaine, son-in law Todd;  and her three grandchildren, Rhianon, Evan and Shaelagh. She is also survived by 4 sisters and multiple nieces and nephews in Canada, England, and Australia. Irene led a full life. We will miss her immensely.


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From: H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Ron and Lynn Binding
Relation: Friends

Irene was an elegant, calm and caring lady. I’ll always appreciate Irene and Eric kindly taking me, as a new arrival to Canada in 1966, into their family and giving me a needed touch of home.

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