In Memoriam
Irene Loretta Kiss
Irene Loretta Kiss
Class of 1957

Irene Loretta Kiss, 71, of Locust Grove died Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, at VCU Medical Center, Richmond, from complications following surgery.

Irene was a native of Portsmouth and the daughter of Joseph and Anne Seidman Kiss.

She is survived by her partner and loving companion of 28 years, Natialy Walker, Ed.D.; her sister, Diana Weinstein, brother-in-law, Burt Weinstein, and nephew, Joshua Akiva Weinstein, all of Virginia Beach.

Irene had a full and varied life. She graduated from Maryview Hospital School of Nursing and was a dedicated nurse for many years. She then earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Old Dominion University, followed by a Master of Education degree from George Mason University. She taught fifth grade in Virginia schools for many years. In addition, she was an active member of the American Mensa Society for 10 years.

Upon retirement, Irene pursued her love of animals through volunteer work with area animal shelters. She enjoyed travel, gardening, rock collecting and spending time at her mountain cabin retreat. Irene was a free, gentle spirit who embraced life. Many friends will remember her great humor, wonderful laugh, love of life and generosity of spirit when supporting others in difficulty or trouble. One of her last emails to her circle of friends was a photograph of a white flag hanging on the front of her house, a signal to the forces that had brought within a month a hurricane, a tornado and an earthquake to her peaceful place on this earth.

Irene's family and friends will gather at a later date to honor and celebrate her life.

Memorial donations may be made to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, Utah 84741; the Orange County Humane Society, Box 852, Locust Grove, Va. 22508; or the American Cancer Society.

Online condolences may be left at woodyfuneralhome

Published in The Freelance Star, Sept. 29, 2001 - Fredericksburg, VA


Memories of Irene Kiss 

When I first learned of Irene’s death last Saturday morning a few hours after she had died unexpectedly following complications from a successful cancer operation in a Richmond Hospital, I was sad. I drifted in my memories to a young girl in Cradock more than 50 years ago...the memories were good but faded into a blurry haze like so many of the high school days. 

To notify my Cradock 57 Classmates I wrote, “I remember Irene as a bright, vivacious young girl, witty and full of fun.  She was a good student, a varsity cheerleader in 1956-57, a graduate of the Maryview School of Nursing and a health professional for a few years. We had corresponded several times during the workup to the 50th class reunion and a few times since then.  Irene was in good health when we last talked and she celebrated at Carolina’s OBX with her 50th Maryview reunion of with her nursing classmates last May.” 

I searched daily for her obituary in the Fredericksburg newspaper, and was disappointed that I could not learn more quickly. I called her home and never received an answer.  Since her obituary published last Wednesday, I have been overwhelmed by thoughts of Irene and her life as I learned more of it.  She was a stunning life success.  As condolences came in to the funeral home website, I learned how Irene had touched the lives of many folks.  Our classmate Jeanne Knutson Williams sent a note “Irene was such a truly nice person and I had her as a nurse one time and I can say she was great at that too.” 

I learned that after nursing for many years, Irene earned a BS degree in elementary education from Old Dominion University, and a Master of Education from George Mason University and taught fifth grade in Virginia schools for many years.  Her second career and her penchant for being a good friend brought the touching condolences that appeared on the website dedicated to her. 

October 01, 2011

Never before had a teacher cared so genuinely for me, and never again would one have such an impact on my life. Ms. Kiss's legacy lives on in the lives of so many of her former students who learned how to laugh, love, and believe in ourselves because of she loved and believed in us. I am so grateful that she was a part of my life 18 years ago, and I will never forget all of the life lessons I learned from her. Molly Bostelman, Stafford Virginia 


We became good friends over the past year or so. Her kindness, generosity, wacky sense of humor were so appreciated by Leo and me. She was a wonderful, loyal friend, and I'll always cherish her memory. Janice Sweeton, Locust Grove, VA 


Irene was a wonderful friend. Although we live miles apart (We are in Dorset England), we always seemed so close in spirit. I will always remember crazy holidays with Irene and Nataily. Re enacting the war of independence at the Cabin, water fights, making ice cream, laughs and fun in wonderful Virginia. Also here in the UK sharing the good stuff with us. Her laugh was infectious - I just hope the angels are ready for her wicked sense of humor!  Irene had a great soul. We miss her. We send love to her friends, her family and of course especially to Natialy. Lyn and Gill (Christchurch, England) 


Miss Kiss taught both my son and daughter when we lived in Virginia. She was a wonderful teacher. I loved that she taught them how to play chess. Our family will always remember her fondly. My heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones. Joni Flaherty (Springboro, Ohio) 


Ms. Kiss was my 5th grade teacher 18 years ago and my brother, Patrick's 3 years before that. She made learning so much fun and always made everyone feel special. I will never forget her teaching me how to play chess, always joking about the cover of our science book, and spurring me on to ham it up as the crazy turkey in a Thanksgiving skit. She will always be remembered in our family as an amazing teacher and a wonderful person with a fantastic smile. Kelly Flaherty, Brooklyn, NY. 


I am a former student of Ms. Kiss from Rippon Elementary School and I am deeply saddened to hear of her passing. I had been trying to locate her this summer. I am now in my 50's and a grandmother and former teacher but Ihave never forgotten this remarkable, creative and inspirational woman. She inspired me and countless other children to always do our best whether it was an "A" or a "C" as long as you gave it your best shot. I was a "slacker" until I met Ms. Kiss. She wouldn't accept it from me. I had always skated through but not with her. For the first time I was inspired to learn. I fell in love with learning because of her and we had fun learning because she was so creative. I have recently come into contact with several former students of hers and each one said the same thing she was the best teacher they had ever had and like myself they all wanted to thank her for the influence she had on their lives. I hope she knew how many children's lives she touched and how grateful so many of them were that we had her as an educator.  


Irene Kiss was indeed a special nurse, teacher, and friend. We know Irene for her delightful sense of humour, and an ability to put the pin into the balloon of the overinflated ego, wherever it raised its ugly head.  She could tell you your hair needed work and you could stand to loose a few pounds and you knew you appreciated the reminder.  She knew how to make you feel good and to tell you not to take yourself too seriously. 

Irene has lived her life well and knew the wisdom of Rumi, a 13th century poet: “When you are dead, seek for your resting place, not in the earth, but rather in the hearts of men.”  My thought for Irene as I share this memorial piece with you is thanks for the memories…You are a sweetheart!  She made good memories for us, and her memory is our keepsake.  It is what we have and it is wonderful.  She is no longer in our daily keeping, but forever in our hearts. 

With love, bk
October 1, 2011