Elizabeth Ann Irwin was called home by God at 8:28 AM on Tuesday December 8, 2020. In the hearts and souls of her family, friends, and community, she was the most precious, self-sacrificing, and divine-human.
Liz was born in the Bronx, NY on April 25, 1951, to John and Ruth Kilmer. Liz is survived by her loving husband Michael, who will honor her all the days of his life. Liz was blessed with three beautiful daughters Jamie, Robyn, and Kyle. They cherished every living moment with their mother. In their loving eyes, Mom was a sacred child of God. Liz was blessed with three precious grandchildren, Johnathan, Christian, and Kaia, who so innocently enriched Grammie’s life. Liz loved her son-in-laws Dan and Tyler with all of her heart.
Liz’s sisters, Kathy and Donna, were loved so deeply and were always in her loving thoughts and prayers. Barry and Jack are her two brother-in-laws, who Liz always gave her gift of love and friendship to each. Liz also had a very loyal soulmate who loved her unconditionally, in addition to her husband, and her name was Peni, Liz’s four-year-old Yellow Lab. Oh, the walks and playing times they shared together. What a glorious bond they had between them!
Liz’s early education began in Tarrytown, NY until her family relocated to Dutchess County on Rt 44 and then to Pleasant Valley. She graduated from Arlington High School. She continued her education at Dutchess Community College in 1969 where she met her future husband Michael. Liz and Mike married on August 29, 1970, and immediately traveled to California due to her husband Mike’s military service. Her husband served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War from 1970 - 1974, and according to Mike, Liz was his source of unwavering strength throughout this very difficult journey. After enduring those four years, Liz completed her BA degree in education (1975) and continued to pursue and achieve a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.
Liz lived a fun and passion-filled 69 beautiful years! As a lifelong animal lover, involved in 4H at a young age she raised Black Angus steer and then kept a small farm of animals at the Irwin Homestead in Rhinebeck. Her life was forever intertwined with water- she was a tremendous swimmer, water safety instructor, and lifeguard. She canoed and kayaked the lakes and streams in the Adirondack Mountains, and was always game for an ocean adventure of paddle boarding, boogie boarding, snorkeling or surfing. Liz was a natural athlete, she enjoyed field hockey, archery, basketball, swimming, and yoga. She was happiest outdoors, on walks and in her gardens, where she put her green thumb to work and was at peace immersed in nature. Music filled Liz’s soul and poured out of her through silly songs for her grandchildren and students; in exultation at the Dutch Reformed Church with the Music Ministry Team; and when spinning around the kitchen floor as she joyfully danced to a tune with her three girls. Liz’s strong giving hands brought joy to everyone in her life. Whether it was with her baked goods from ‘Grammie’s Kitchen’ (her famous Mondel Bread) or with her hand sewn quilts and knitting projects, or with her crafts and artwork or a loving card and sincere handwritten note, her good works were found everywhere and meant everything.
Liz’s passion was also to nourish young minds and cultivate meaningful and positive experiences, not only for her daughters and grandchildren but for children in the community. She founded Wooden Shoes Nursery School located in the Dutch Reformed Church of Rhinebeck. She was the director of Rhinebeck’s recreation program and provided fun and active programs to hundreds of kids. Her impact on Rhinebeck’s local youth is immeasurable.
Liz devoted her life to teaching as well as being a tremendous athletic coach at all school levels. She retired from teaching at Chancellor Livingston Elementary School (CLS) in Rhinebeck in June 2014, after many decades of enriching the lives of students, parents, and colleagues. Liz taught with intention, humor (she started each class with a ‘joke of the day’), creativity, joy- the list is endless! She piloted, as well as collaborated with colleagues, friends, and the community, on countless programs and fundraising events at CLS including the Folk Heritage Festival, Jump rope for Heart, the Holiday Giving Tree, Turkey Trot, Kid’s Night Out, and Early Morning and After School Activities. Moreover, Liz loved being part of wonderful programs such as the Dutch Reformed Church’s Food Pantry, Living Nativity, Giving Tree, Holiday Meals, and Midnight Run, as well as Astor’s Adopt a Family, and St. Judes Children’s Hospital. She embodied the sentiments ‘give it your all’ and commitment to excellence. Liz was truly the Pied Piper of Rhinebeck wherever she went.
Liz dedicated her life to her family, friends, and helping others. Being of service was her guiding light. Her kindness, graciousness, humbleness, and warm, comforting smile always touched the hearts of those who crossed paths with her. Liz’s calm and loving spirit changed many lives. Mom, Grammie, Lizzie “my little one”- We love you forever and always to the moon and back!
There are no calling hours.
Services were held privately for Liz’s family.
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