Once her children were on their own, she turned with typical energy and focus to her love of gardening and her concern for the environment. She became a Master Gardener, earned a landscape design certificate from NC State University, and started a landscape design business. A member of the North Carolina State Landscape Critics Council, she traveled the state to judge local projects. She was part of the landscape design team that worked with government to beautify major transportation arteries when the state hosted the 1988 US Olympic Trials. She was active in the American Horticultural Society. Continuing her involvement in both Flower Lovers and Wildwood garden clubs, she served first on committees and then as president of the Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs. In 1989 she was honored with the Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs Woman of the Year award. She continued her cooperative efforts with local government as chair of various committees and then president of Greensboro Beautiful, Inc., spearheading major city beautification projects including the Bicentennial Garden, the Bog Garden, and the Greensboro Arboretum. She won Greensboro Beautiful's Award of Distinction in 1993, and went on to serve as an Arboretum docent and tour director. An indefatigable traveler, her many journeys took her all over Europe, Russia, Israel/the West Bank, Canada, Mexico, and the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
In 2001, she moved to Well*Spring, and chose to serve another lifelong passion, reading. She chaired the Library Committee, working to expand the collection and to encourage reading. She wrote a popular monthly book review column in the community newsletter. When failing eyesight forced her to relinquish library work, she moved to the Dining Committee, knowing well that shared meals with good food can be the heart of community life. The family extends deep thanks to the entire Well*Spring staff, especially the healthcare staff who took such extraordinary care of Irma during her final illness.
To honor Irma, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Greensboro Beautiful, Inc., 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro, NC 27405.
Online condolences may be offered at www.forbisanddick.com