Irene Gassor Tribute

Irene at 80

Irene Gassor passed away in the early hours of the 16th May 2020, almost a year to the day after she moved into St Mary’s Nursing Home.  Because of the coronavirus pandemic a small funeral was held at Stafford Crematorium on 2nd June, at which Maureen Recine gave the following tribute.  It is hoped that a memorial service will be held for Irene once it is safe to meet in church again.

This tribute was written by Maureen Recine

Irene at 80

Irene was born on 16th Dec 1931 on Newcastle Road in Stone. Her very proud parents doted on their much loved daughter and only child.

From a very early age Christ Church has been the biggest and most important part of her life. Her faith and the Church were part of everything she did in her 88 years. Irene was a Sunday School Teacher and present at all Church events.

Irene has seen seven Vicars in and out of Christ Church and she was on her eighth Vicar who has outlived her, thankfully, and been with her right to the end, and certainly passed the Irene Gassor test for Vicars. Irene was very appreciative of all the support that Sue, Paul and members of Church family gave her as she became less able to manage her life.

When Irene retired at age 65 she began working for the Church as the Administrator, what else would Irene have done? She continued in this role until the last few years when her health began to deteriorate.

Irene went to Christ Church School which she really enjoyed, later she moved to Granville Secondary Modern School, English was her favourite subject.

One of Irene’s childhood friends was Dot Curtis, although Dot was 7 years younger she was like a sister to Irene and they spent a lot of time together.

Irene was taught shorthand typing and this began her career as a Secretary. She started to work at the Co-op food office and then Jacksons Butchers.

Later in her life she went to work for Donald Curtis at Quickfit and Quartz and later for Bibby’s where I recall David Harman, her boss, telling me that “She was the prettiest secretary that ever sat on my knee”

Irene met Ivor, who was in the army, at dances held at the British Legion Club and their friendship grew, and in 1957 they married.  It was a quiet wedding as Ivor’s father had died 2 weeks before. The Rev Harold Glue officiated, and Irene’s Brownies formed a Guard of Honour for them as they left Church. They were a devoted couple.

They enjoyed many holidays together at the seaside and later enjoyed holidays with the Bagot’s, Clarkes, and Ewart’s, often to London and seeing a show. They were members of the Oddfellows; Irene was a life member. The annual Oddfellows conference took them all around the country.

Sadly and very prematurely Ivor died at age 62-years. This was a very dark time in Irene’s life and life at their Oulton Road home would never be the same again.

Irene learnt to drive so that she could have some independence. It took her quite some time to get her licence, and those who sat with her needed nerves of steel, but she did it, and enjoyed driving for a few years. This gave her the opportunity to take up Quilting at Stafford College and other pastimes.

Irene started her guiding life when she joined Brownies at 1st Stone in 1939. Irene was not able to go to Guides but later joined the Sea Rangers

In 1950 Irene became a Brownie Leader after been asked to open the 3rd Stone Christ Church Brownie Unit. She was too young and not qualified but started with 2 girls and the numbers just grew, she gained her warrant in 1952 and stayed at 3rd Stone for 34 years. In recent years I have learnt she had difficulty in tying her tie ready for inspection, but she never told me this until many years later and she inspected my tie tying, if I remember correctly, as she was my Brown Owl.

Irene held the appointment of District Commissioner and took a massive role in the formation of a choir in preparation for a Festival of Song in London. A record was recorded in St Michael’s Church in Stone.  In 1995 we spent Thinking Day at Westminster Abbey which 10 of us really enjoyed and found very moving.

Irene was selected to attend a Buckingham Palace Garden party to represent Stone Division and the County. It was a day she spoke a lot about and never forgot. She became Division Secretary when I became Division Commissioner and we worked very closely together once again.

During this time a small team including Irene wrote a book about the history of guiding in Stone. Irene became a Trefoil member, which was her last role in her long service to young people through Girlguiding.

Irene is now at peace and reunited with Ivor, and I know that she had no fear of death and felt that she was ready to leave us. It has been sad to see her physical and mental health deteriorate over the last year but she bore it so bravely and was happy to see those who have visited her in St Marys Home. After such a full life of faith and service I am sure that all her friends will be thankful to have known her and had her in their lives as I am.

Maureen Recine