Iris K. McGrane
Iris Keen McGrane passed away on 4/13/2021, after suffering with severely painful arthritis in her back, for many years. In January of this year, Iris was in a rehab/nursing facility and miraculously survived and overcame COVID, without requiring any hospitalization. She had a strong heart and brave spirit.
Iris’s Viewing will take place on Wednesday, April 21, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 611 Knowles Ave at Second Street Pike, Southampton, Bucks County. Viewing will be from 10:00 to 11:15am, with funeral Mass immediately following at 11:15. After Mass, Iris’ burial will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, PA.
Iris was born and raised in Twickenham, Middlesex, England, about 15 miles southwest of London. As a young girl, Iris loved the opera – her voice was a coloratura soprano and she could sing “E” above High “C”. Unfortunately, Iris’ dreams of becoming an opera singer (and everyone’s dreams) ended when World War II in Europe began on September 1, 1939. During World War II, Iris was a first-hand survivor of the London Blitz – she and her family were bombed out of their home, and spent Christmas, 1940 at the Salvation Army shelter. Iris became a young woman running to the bomb shelters. Her twin brother, Ian, lost his life at age 17 on the HMS Hood, when the Bismarck sank the Hood in May, 1941. Iris became a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Navy Service, and worked at the Naval Admiralty.
After WWII, Iris graduated from the Royal College of Tailoring in London – she was a master tailor, dressmaker, milliner etc. Iris called herself a “needlewoman”, excelling in anything involving needle & thread (or yarn). In addition to needlecrafts, Iris also worked on Fleet Street, the journalistic district in London.
Due to Britain’s post-WWII economic struggles, Iris immigrated to the United States in March of 1954, like thousands of other Britons, in order to build a new life for herself. Iris immigrated ALONE, and built a new life from scratch. Fortunately, she settled in Philadelphia, which had a huge colony of British immigrants. Iris met another British immigrant here, who was working at the candy counter in Wanamaker’s department store - Molly from Manchester. Molly (who later became Aunt Molly, Linda’s godmother), introduced Iris to a large social organization called the British Legion…..Iris wound up meeting more Britons in Philadelphia than she ever would have met, had she stayed on the other side of The Pond.
In Philadelphia, Iris met James M. (Jim) McGrane in the mid-50’s, and they were married in June of 1960. Their courting days included a lot of time spent and memories made at the South Jersey seashore. Ventnor and Margate were THE happening shore towns back in the day! Well-known taverns like the Greenhouse in Margate are still there today.
Over the years, Iris worked in public relations for the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, co-owned a tailoring/dry-cleaning business with James, and became a teacher in the Philadelphia Public School District. Iris earned several degrees in education, from Bachelors to Doctorate, all at Temple University (requiring considerable time at Paley Library). Iris also worked part-time as a nurses’ unit secretary at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital on Franklin Plaza. Because of Iris’ love of gardening, she would volunteer every year at Magee Rehab’s Adaptive (wheelchair-accessible) Horticulture Therapy display at the Philadelphia Flower Show, so that she could use her green thumb.
Iris’s ex-husband and long-time friend, Jim, died recently on March 16. Iris is survived by her daughter, Linda Anne, and Linda’s friend, Alan. Iris was also “Grandmom” to cats Roadie and Gabriel. Iris is also fondly remembered by long-time close family friends, and their children. 8
In lieu of sending flowers, please consider honoring Iris’ legacy by donating to either the ASPCA, or, to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, for their Horticultural Therapy program (https://mageerehab.jeffersonhealth.org/about-us/care-team/horticultural-therapy).