Iris E. DiRico, 78, Retired Hemenway Elementary Teacher

FRAMINGHAM – Iris E. DiRico, 78, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 8, 2019 at Mary Ann Morse Healthcare and Nursing Home with her devoted sister Sharon by her side.   Her sister is proud of Iris with the way she met the many challenges of dementia with courage, grace, and dignity.  

Born in Gardner, on November 27, 1940 and raised in Baldwinville.  

Iris was the daughter of her late loving parents Jesse H. and Frances C. (Hubbard) DiRico and stepmother Mary (McClure) DiRico.

Iris is a graduate of Narragansett Regional High School in Baldwinville, Class of 1958.

Iris pursued her dream to be an elementary school teacher by earning a B.S. degree in Education from Fitchburg State Teachers College, 1962. 

While at college she enjoyed being a member of the Tokalon Sorority.  Later in 1970 Iris earned a Master of Education degree from Framingham State College.

Her first teaching position was in Whitman, where she taught 5th grade at Holt School, 1962 to 1966.

In 1966 she moved to Framingham, to a teaching position of 4th and 5th grades at Hemenway Elementary School in Framingham.

Iris taught at Hemenway School from 1966 until she retired in 2002.  Hemenway thanked Iris for her many years of excellent teaching and devotion to the school community by naming the school courtyard, The Iris DiRico Courtyard at Hemenway School.   Iris was very honored and proud of the tribute to her teaching. 

Iris and her sister enjoyed traveling to Europe, Scandinavia, Caribbean and especially the beautiful coast of Pemaquid, Maine. 

In their travels they signed a guestbook at Buckingham Palace in London, met Richard Burton in Switzerland and drove through the beautiful highlands in Scotland.   Iris enjoyed a fine glass of wine whether it be in England, France, Switzerland, Italy or with friends at local establishments.

For many years Iris was a mall walker in Natick where she enjoyed meeting her friends with a cup of coffee and good conversation.

Iris was known for her fashionable style, adorning her outfits with matching jewelry.  She was also known for her great dry wit.  After her gall bladder operation, the surgeon asked if she would like to keep the stones.  She replied, “Only if they’re diamonds!”

Iris was an avid reader of many books especially of American and European history.  She has an impressive collection of books regarding Royal Families of Europe from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.  Iris was a volunteer in the Literacy Program.  

As a retiree, Iris shared her passion for history at the Framingham History Center as a volunteer docent in the 3rd grade program.

Iris has researched and studied the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  She had an opportunity to see him in 1998 at Brandeis University to receive an honorary degree.  Iris at the time had a cast on a broken leg.  She was seated in the front of the auditorium when he saw her, embraced and spoke to her then he blessed her broken leg.   Iris never forgot that special moment.

Iris was a member of the Museum of Fine Arts, Framingham History Center, Friends of colonial Pemquid in Maine, Friends of Callahan in Framingham and several educational organizations.  She was also an avid Red Sox fan.

She looked forward to Thanksgiving in Weymouth, MA; Columbus Day weekends in Tenants Harbor Maine; Christmas in Marblehead.

Iris is survived by her sister Sharon of Framingham and her stepsister Mary Ann McClure of Orange, MA.; stepbrother Eddie McClure and his wife Linda of Baldwinville, MA; stepbrother Hayden McClure and his wife Naomie of Palmer, Alaska; Goddaughter Cynthia Coffin of Hamilton, MA and Goddaughter Emily Gaffney and her husband Luke of Marblehead, MA.   She leaves behind several cousins, step nieces and step nephews and many dear friends from near and far.

Relatives and friends are welcome to attend calling hours at Norton Funeral Home, 53 Beech St., Framingham on Thursday July 18, 2 to 5p.m.

Relatives and friends are welcome to a graveside service at Greenlawn Cemetery in Baldwinville, on Friday July 19 at noon.

In lieu of flowers donations may be given to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverley Oaks Road, Waltham, MA 02452

The family would like to thank the staff of the Mary Ann Morse Healthcare Center for their care, kindness and compassion they gave to Iris.

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: Phone: 508-315-7176

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