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VIRTUE, Irene

November 11, 1927 – December 31, 2014

Loving, brave, generous and with a sharp wit, Irene Virtue was known for her indomitable spirit and enthusiasm. She lived a full and engaging 87 years. She died peacefully and with grace, surrounded by her family.

Irene’s pragmatism was ideally suited to nursing. She completed her B.Sc. at U of A where she met Charles, her beloved ‘Chuck’. Their love and respect for each other was unique and they had an extraordinary 35 years in Lethbridge raising their 6 children.

Irene was the force that enabled her children to be so engaged and active in life. She provided a solid foundation and a listening ear to the ‘15th Avenue’ neighbourhood kids. She was a skier, traveler, fitness buff, hiker, windsurfer, sailor, cycler, and boater – and she hosted a great party. An avid reader, she enjoyed discussing social issues and politics and always had an opinion on current events.

Irene embraced the move to Calgary, when Charlie was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench. She supported the theatre and shared her love of the arts with friends and grandchildren. With lifelong friends, she hiked in the Bugaboos, bird-watched in Galapagos, enjoyed the cabin on Lasquiti Island, sailed in the Caribbean and boated down rivers in Europe. She cherished her new friendships with her book and bridge clubs and met regularly with her U of A Nursing classmates.

Irene navigated transitions seemingly without effort. When Charlie had a severe stroke at the age of 69, she provided the support and encouragement that enabled him to live at home and to continue to enjoy life. She became the competent captain of her ocean cruiser and enjoyed many day and overnight trips in the Gulf Islands until her last outing on the boat at the age of 85. Her move to a retirement residence brought her a great group of new friends who enjoyed many laughs together. Even as she grew older, she rarely turned down an invitation to party, to travel, or to try out a new restaurant.

Irene loved her family deeply and she showed that love through her generosity of spirit. Her children, Marni and Steve, George and Carole, Carol and John, Jeph and Julie, Jud and Krista and Jane and Sean meant the world to her. She had a special bond with each one of her grandchildren, Nicolas, Brock, Erica, Jennifer, Molly, Christopher, Nathan, Jordie, Spencer and her adopted grandchild Carlyle, who all appreciated her sense of fun and wisdom. She welcomed their partners Dorotea, Cody, Arel and Ben and was absolutely delighted with Arlo, her first great-grandchild.

Irene will be missed by Charlie’s sister, Carol Snedden, and family and by her brother’s wife, Francoise Greenwood, and family. Special lifelong friends will remember their ‘Bugsy’ with love. The family thanks Irene’s doctors, including Dr. Shelly Stokes.

A Celebration of Irene’s life will be held at Calgary Golf and Country Club (One and one half blocks West of Elbow Drive on 50th Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB) on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. Memorial donations in her name may be sent to the Asthma Society of Canada www.asthma.ca

In living memory of Irene Virtue, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Rae Redekopp (nee Johnston) :

    To Carol and family,

    So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. It’s so hard to lose a loved one. Carol, I was so glad to see you on Saturday at Fountains. I have wonderful memories of both your mom and dad, especially during our choir years. I’m sure you miss both of them terribly. Thinking of you guys.
    Best,
    Rae and John Redekopp.

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  2. Carol,
    I am sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing.
    Lots of love and hugs,
    Cheryl Irwin

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  3. Liz Mihaly-Nyhoff :

    My deepest condolences you all. I remember Irene with great fondness. She will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

    Regards,

    Liz

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  4. Blake Dickins :

    Aunty Irene was a great lady and had a wonderful life! We will all miss her. My deepest condolences, sorry I will not be able to attend the service due to commitments I can not break. My sister Cynthia will be attending. Blake Dickins

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  5. Dennis Shandruk :

    My condolences to Jeph, Julie and their family.

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  6. Blaine Thacker & Sue Evans :

    We send you our warm thoughts as we remember many fine times with Irene and the Clan. Blaine and Sue

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  7. Alan and Susan Pollock :

    To Marni and George:
    One amazing life – our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time.
    Alan and Susan

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  8. Sharon Wood & Garrett Brown :

    Dear Virtues,

    We are so very grateful for our relationship with Irene. When I think of Irene, I think of spunk, curiosity, wisdom, compassion, humour and loads of grace. And of course, she has been a remarkable mother to raise such loving and devoted children as yourselves. Her spirit will remain with us always.

    Love and blessings,
    Sharon and Garrett

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  9. Sharon Wood & Garrett Brown :

    Dear Virtues,

    We are so very grateful for our relationship your beloved mother. When I think of Irene, I think of spunk, curiosity, wisdom, compassion, humour and loads of grace. Her spirit will remain with us always.

    Love and blessings,
    Sharon and Garrett

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  10. Jackie Demeriez :

    Sincere condolences to the family. It seems like it was a life well lived.

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  11. Charmaine MacCuspic :

    Sending my love and condolences. Sorry I won’t be able to make the service. Grandma Virtue will be missed!
    -Charmaine

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  12. Dear Marni and all the Virtue Family:
    Kaaren, Melissa and I are so very sorry to hear of your mom’s passing – what a wonderful lady! She epitomised warmth, caring, fun, joy and had a vitality of spirit that must have stayed with her to the end. She was so involved in helping organize the Anne Campbell Singers girls and their trips, always cheerful and added enormously to their fun – a genuine role model for us all. I know you will miss her enormously and you have our most sincere condolences.

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  13. Mary Ellen Neilson :

    Julie, Jeph, Marni and Steve – On behalf of everyone at A.R.B.I., our condolences on the loss of your mom Irene. She sounded like an amazing lady.

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  14. Jo-Ann Burgess :

    Jane, Sean and Jud – my condolences on your mother-in-law’s passing. My thoughts and best wishes are with you and your families at this time. The obituary was beautifully written and really conveys the spirit and personality of your mother. I’m sure you have many great memories of time spent together and will find joy and laughter in those memories in the days and years to come.

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  15. Keith and Audrey Eslinger :

    Jeph, Julie and family our condolences on the loss of your mom. I don’t normally read this part of the Calgary Herald but noticed the Virtue name so thought it may be someone related to you Jeph. Your mom had a busy amazing life! All the best to you and your family.

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  16. To George and Carole and the Virtue family – so sorry to hear of your loss. She certainly led a full and busy life.

    Our thoughts are with you and your family.

    Bill and Pauline Wong

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  17. Nick and Ann Lastuka :

    To all the Virtue families we send our sincere sympathy. Irene was a gracious woman and she will be missed. We remember with fondness our visits together and how much we enjoyed them. Regretfully we cannot make it to the celebration of Irene’s life but our thoughts and prayers will be with you all.

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  18. David Ainscough :

    Jeph, Julie, Erica, Jennifer and the Virtue Clan.
    I’m so sorry for your loss, my deepest sympathies.

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  19. Tim and Carol Ng :

    George and Carole, Nic, Dorotea and Brock, our deepest sympathies for the loss of Irene. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you and the rest of your families. We know Irene will be missed.

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  20. Sheila and Bill Niles :

    To all of the Virtue Clan:
    Your mom/grandmother/great grandmother along with Charlie were very long time friends going back to their early days in Lethbridge. We fondly remember our long leaves from Venezuela when we camped in the Kananaskis and your family joined us for some rollicking times in the mountains. Our move to Calgary enabled us to recast that long friendship with Irene and Charlie which was again a delight for us since they were a very handsome and jolly pair. Irene is now finishing the voyage of life which we all face and we wish her God speed as she joins her partner. We regret that we are unable to attend the memorial service today. Sheila injured her back a couple of days ago and is just not up to travel and sitting. Our thought will be with all of you. Just a small point of reference from us. I obtained my CA with the office of George Young which morphed into Young, Parkyn and McNab. That was a lot of years ago!
    -Sheila and Bill Niles, Millarville, AB

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  21. To the Virtue Family,
    My sincere sympathy on the passing of your mother and grandmother. When I finished law school and moved to Lethbridge in 1976, Charlie and Irene made every effort to ensure that I was a welcome addition to the firm. They opened their home and their hearts. They were outstanding hosts and so fun to be with. They are, and always have beeen, an inspiration to me. Irene had CLASS. She lived a full life, she was a committed partner to Charles, she was a proud mother and grandmother and she gave back to her community. You must be very proud of her, and your lives will be enriched by her presence and involvement. I trust that your memories of your times together will remain with you for your lifetimes.

    -Lorne

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  22. Dale & Joan Meister :

    Dear Jane, Sean, Jordie, Spencer and family,

    Our heartfelt condolences are sent to you in the loss of your beloved mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother. May your grief be lightened by sharing it with family and friends and may your memories and stories bring you joy in times to come. Thinking of you,
    -Dale and Joan Meister

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  23. Arthur & Barbara Lutz :

    Our sincere condolences to the Virtue family on the loss of Irene.
    Unfortunately, due to prior commitments, we are unable to attend the celebration of life today but wish to say that we came to know Irene and Charlie well through our association on the Court of Queen’s Bench and enjoyed the friendship very much. It was always a pleasure to hear of their adventures both before and after Charlie’s death. We also enjoyed our times with Irene at Eau Claire Estates. Irene and Charlie will now be at peace with each other.

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  24. Shirley Wilson :

    What a lovely obituary and beautiful picture of Irene. I have always admired her spunk and adventuresome spirit and independence, she leaves you lots of good memories. My love and sympathy to you all.
    -Shirley

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  25. Randy And Joanne Slen :

    To the Virtue Family,
    Joanne and I were very sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing. Thankfully she lived a long and full life and I was part of it in my early years. I will always treasure the times spent at the house in Lethbridge and her patience with us…Judd.
    May your wonderful memories comfort you in this time of loss.
    Sincerely,
    Randy and Joanne

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  26. Renee Hurlburt :

    Dear Virtue Family: I was saddened to read of your Mother’s passing.
    What a beautiful lady, through and through, and her progeny has inherited that beauty and grace. What a blessing for our family to know a little of the Virtue aura through George and Carole. If Ken were able I know he would agree. We all send our love and condolences.

    ReneeHurlburt

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  27. barb meredith huntrods :

    My sister Sue and I remember the great neighborhood you were ALL brought up in. Sue still lives in THE BRIDGE, I live in Calgary. Sue told me to read your MUM’S obit, as it was so HEARTFELTLY WRITTEN. She lived life to the fullest, all we can ask for so to speak. MEMORIES ARE GOLDEN and you have many of your DEAR MUM.

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  28. Stephen & Kathy MacKay :

    Jud and Krista,

    Our prayers are with you at this difficult time. Wrap yourselves in your memories and be there for each other.

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  29. John and Barbara Storwick :

    Jane, Jud, Marni ,George ,Carole, Jeph
    Irene and Charlie were in our lives for so many adventures and for so many years – we considered it a honor to be their friends, We will miss them, but not forget them, and will still sing “Good Night Irene”

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  30. Ernie and Doreen Hutchinson :

    How sad to learn of Irene’s death – yet thankful that she was spared a lingering hospital stay.
    She was a dear friend and a very gutsy lady. She will be missed by many.

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