Irene May Matthews was born, raised and lived out her life in Vancouver — mostly in one home on Beatrice Street, where she moved with her parents when she was six years old. She graduated from John Oliver High School in 1948 and went to work for the City of Vancouver soon after.
It was while working at the city’s vehicle inspection station that she met Dick Matthews, her husband-to-be. The couple married in 1957 and made a happy life together on Beatrice Street. They lived in the basement of the home for a short time while Irene’s parents resided upstairs. It wasn’t long before Irene’s parents decided to move out and make way for Irene and Dick. Irene never lived anywhere else.
Irene enjoyed good health and had never been in a hospital until she needed heart surgery while in her 50’s. Dick describes Irene as an “optimistic, level-headed, very solid” sort of person. She was proud of her home and city. She loved to bowl, garden and travel with Dick, especially to England, where they both had cousins.
Irene left gifts in her will for a few close friends and directed the rest of her estate to 13 charitable organizations. We are honoured that Irene chose St. Paul’s to be part of her philanthropic legacy. Her gift will be used to support the greatest needs of the hospital and improve health care for the community she loved. We all owe her a debt of gratitude.