Louise Russell Irving, 1922 – 2020
Written by John Irving Jr.
Louise Russell Irving, aka "Weedie," was born on March 14th, 1922 in New York City. She died at home in Princeton on August 8th, 2020. She was 98. Her large family sorely misses her.
In 1947, she married the late John E.D. Irving, a DuPont Co. marketer. They honeymooned at Varadero Beach, Cuba and went on to raise five children: John Jr, of Princeton; the late Henry Russell Irving of Cambridge, Mass; Douglas Irving of Princeton; David D. Irving of NYC; and Carol R. Irving of Northumberland, England. John and Louise were together for over 50 years until his death in 1998.
Louise attended Miss Hewitt’s School in NYC; Foxcroft School in Middleburg VA (under the celebrated headmistress Miss Charlotte Noland). Her friends from Foxcroft School remain loyal unto death. Louise received a BA in zoology from Barnard College in 1944.
After college, and consonant with American WWII efforts, she signed up as an assistant nurse with the Red Cross and shipped out in early 1945 to Tagaytay, Philippines. There, the US Marines welcomed her and made her their “company Mascot.” Mustered out with the homebound soldiers after VJ day, she built her family with John successively in Wilmington, New York City, Providence and Unionville PA. After her husband died, she relocated to Princeton her childhood summer home. Louise was conversant in French, Italian, and Spanish and applied her language skills in travels to such other countries as Vietnam and Panama. She returned from those trips and penned lively travelogues for her local newspapers. Louise practiced assiduously at the piano all her life, which brought her immense joy. She played competent tennis and golf. She loved astrology.
Louise promoted her six grandchildren’s participation in sports, music, film and dance. While in Princeton, she was a strong proponent of the Charter School and the admirable PHS Studio Band jazz program directed by Joe Bongiovi. Her grandchildren visited her regularly, traveled with her, laughed with her and delighted in her charisma and indomitable energy. Louise was always thrilled to see her family and especially proud of her great grandchildren.
She was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican with strong opinions about politics, American life and food. She regularly hosted local Republican functions at her home, and in recent years was distraught at Leftist and progressive excesses in America. She liked President Trump and preferred “All-Lives-Matter” to other iterations of that concept. She was an avid, competitive bridge player up to the day she died with a few games already scheduled for the following week. She planned to live forever.
Survivors include her 4 adult children; John, Douglas, David and Carol, their spouses as well as the spouse of her predeceased son Henry; six grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and her younger brother Archibald Douglas Russell and his family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to:
The Princeton Republican Club
131 Victoria Mews
Princeton, NJ 08542
PHS Band Parents Association,
c/o Amanda Kewley
174 Nassau Street
Princeton, NJ 08542.