Iris McGhee Holder of Black River Falls, Wiss., died at her home on Friday, July 3, 2020, at age 86.
Iris was born in the tiny southern Virginia town of Gretna on September 28, 1933, one of eight children of Leonard Ramsey and Marnie Johnson McGhee.
A defining aspect of Iris’s childhood was learning to sew. After graduating from Chatham High School, Chatham, Va. in 1950, her creativity and attention to detail led her to major in Home Economics. She attended James Madison University (then Madison College) in Harrisonburg Va., and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Her love of design, fabric and sewing were pursuits throughout her life.
Her teaching career started in the Arlington Public Schools, just outside of Washington D.C. She met Basil Holder, who was teaching in the same school district, and they married in 1959.
While living in Washington they made wonderful lifelong friends, and shared the experiences of this dynamic period in the nation’s capital. In 1966, she moved to Basil’s hometown of Black River Falls WI. Iris loved Black River Falls. With her southern accent and sensibilities, unconventional in her expertise and love of doing things the proper way, she was embraced as a unique addition to the BRF community.
She was devoted to her children’s interests and endeavors. She supported youth hockey, Campfire, and traveled the state for horse shows, violin lessons, camps and performances.
She was a member of the United Methodist Church and the Tuesday Club.
She returned to teaching in 1997 after completing a degree in library science at UW Eau-Claire. She worked in the BRF School District, and loved her 13 years serving as librarian at Gebhardt and Hixton Elementary Schools.
She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Basil Stuart Holder; and her children, Laura Holder Ward of Fulton, Miss.; Emily Levis Holder (Margaret Baier) of Minneapolis, Minn.; and Anthony Jay Holder of La Crosse, Wis.. Iris is further survived by 2 sisters, Laraine (Charles) Brumberg of Richmond, Va. and Dianne Delaney of Greensboro, N.C.; two sisters-in-law, Joanne Holder and Doris Holder of Black River Falls, and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents, three sisters Shirley (and husband Robert) Van Horn, Kansas City, MO; Joyce (and husband James) Doss, Hampton Va.; Charlotte Bard, Midlothian, Va.; and two brothers Leonard, Gretna, Va. and Robert (and wife Agnes), Williamsburg, Va.; brothers-in-law Dr. Richard Levis Holder, Black River Falls and Donn Holder; and her son-in-law Gregory Scott Ward (Fulton, Miss.).
Help us remember and celebrate Iris at a reception, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, 1-3 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, 100 N. 4th Street, Black River Falls. Torgerson Funeral Home is handling the arrangements (715-284-4321), www.torgersonfuneralhome.com.