Iris Olsson Kirkpatrick, 85, of Rumson passed away Dec. 1 after a brief illness. Her family was at her side.
Iris was born in Jarvso, Gavleborg, Sweden, immigrated to the United States in her teens and settled with relatives. Following her graduation from Verona High School, she went on to study at the Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing and became a registered nurse. She worked in New Jersey, California and Virginia. In 1992, she graduated from the Monmouth University School of Nursing with high honors. Iris also taught Swedish at The Language School.
She met the love of her life, William “Bill” Phillips Kirkpatrick while living in Montclair. They were married for 56 years until his death in 2012. Iris and Bill settled in Rumson just before Bill opened his law practice in town. As longtime residents of Rumson, Iris and Bill were deeply involved in the community as they raised their three sons. Iris was always in the bleachers no matter the sport, or the season, to cheer on her sons and later, her grandchildren.
Iris and Bill instilled a love of sailing in their entire family and spent many afternoons and evenings sailing with family and friends aboard their Sanderling Eagle’s Nest. Iris also raced in the Turnabout fleet and was an active member of Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club. In the last few years, she became a proficient kayaker. She was also an accomplished tennis and paddleball player.
A current member of session at the First Presbyterian Church of Rumson, Iris was a church elder, led a women’s bible study group and was a Sunday school teacher. Iris served as president of the Rumson-Fair Haven Home & School Association and volunteered with the Rumson Community Appeal and numerous other charities.
Iris was also a member of Seabright Beach Club where she was an active competitive bridge player and attended many summer swim meets and family celebrations. She also was an avid reader who enjoyed the difficult novels and reread the classics several times.
Iris touched the lives of many people with her kind and gentle manner. She was known to offer a cup of tea, a bite to eat and, if you were lucky, homemade cookies.
She is survived by her sons and their wives, David and Barbara of Shrewsbury, John and Laura of Rumson, and Andrew and Sheri of Shrewsbury. Iris was the beloved Nana to her six “amazing” grandchildren, William Phillips II, Mary Katherine, Colin, Erin, Alexa and Julia.
A celebration of Iris’ life will take place at 11 a.m. Jan. 5, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church of Rumson, 4 East River Road, Rumson, NJ 07760. Thompson Funeral Home, Red Bank, is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Rumson Presbyterian Church, or a charity of your choice.