Jean Irving, matriarch of New Brunswick’s Irving family, dies at 93

An undated handout photo of Jean Irving. J.D. Irving

Jean Irving, the wife of James K. Irving and matriarch of the famous New Brunswick family, has died at the age of 93.

An obituary says that Jean died on Tuesday at her home in Rothesay, N.B., surrounded by her husband and family.

Born on April 20, 1926, Jean grew up on her family’s farm in Glenvale, N.B., before attending the school of nursing at Chipman Memorial Hospital in St. Stephen, N.B., and becoming a registered nurse.

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Described as a caring and supportive wife and mother, Jean was the wife and “compass” of industrialist James “Jim” Irving, the owner of J.D. Irving.

Along with her husband she is survived by her four children, 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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A well-known philanthropist, Jean was an artist and entrepreneur.

“Her greatest passion and joy came from her family, her church and the young people around her,” read her obituary.

The Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce sent their “sympathy, thoughts and prayers” to the Irving family.

“Mrs. Irving was known for her tremendous philanthropic work and has made a positive difference in the lives of many,” the chamber said.

Irving Oil also issued a statement on Twitter, saying that Jean will “long be remembered for her love of family, her kindness and her strong commitment to her community.”

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Through her life Jean was the recipient of many awards, including the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Silver and Gold Jubilee Medals, the Salvation Army’s Order of Distinguished Auxiliary Service and Saint John Community Foundation Award. She was also given  honourary degrees from Kingswood University in Sussex, N.B., and Houghton College in New York.

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Visitation is will be held on Nov. 1, at the Netherwood Chapel at 7 Maiden Lane in Rothesay, N.B., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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The funeral will be held at the Saunders Irving Chapel at Kingswood University in Sussex, N.B., at 11 a.m., followed by a private family interment in Bouctouche.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to a charity the senders choosing.

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