Amy Rees Anderson

She was really here and she really lived

Today I want to pay tribute to an amazing woman named Iris who happens to be my Aunt. Aunt Iris would have celebrated her 98th birthday this week, but sadly on Friday we got word that Iris had passed away. On the one hand I am incredibly sad to see Iris pass from this life because she was such a joy to be around and she was such an inspiration to me. On the other hand, I am so happy for her to finally be reunited again in the heavens with her handsome husband who passed away many years ago.  Iris lived an amazing life. She lived every moment of her life to the absolute fullest. She didn’t waste a single day and she constantly proved that we can accomplish anything in life we set our minds to.

aunt-iris iris

To pay tribute to Iris I thought I would repost a blog I wrote back on August 17, 2015. The blog is titled “I was really here and I really lived”.  To Iris I would say “God be with you til we meet again my adorable, sparkling, amazing Aunt. I love you dearly! Thank you for your example and your legacy of being brave and teaching us to live life to the fullest.”

~Amy Rees Anderson (see re-post of August 17, 2015 blog below):

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for sick neighbor children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”                   -Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Last week when I was in Idaho I was able to visit my husband’s Aunt Iris. Aunt Iris is 96 years old. She is one month shy of her 97th birthday. Iris has lived a truly amazing life. She has done everything from being a Rosie the Riveter during World War II, to becoming a pilot and flying small planes, to being put on the cover of Life Magazine in 1957 for being the top woman in business. Iris is a painter and an amazing sculptor. And at nearly 97 years old she still has her driver’s license because the DMV was forced to give it to her when she got nearly a perfect score on her driver’s test, missing only one of the questions which she contends she got right and the instructor got wrong 🙂 . Yes Iris is a force to be reckoned with. And she is, without a doubt, one of my heroes!

Iris has spent her life using every talent and ability that God has given her. She never shy’s away from a challenge and she has no fear whatsoever. While she was in her 80’s she climbed up on her roof to clean out her gutters. When the ladder fell down she stood up on her roof waving at people driving by to help her but they didn’t understand her predicament and simply waved back and kept driving. Finally Iris decided it was time to take action herself. She looked at the different angles she could jump from and determined that if she jumped just right she could break her fall with the fence nearby. And sure enough off she jumped and as planned she used the fence to cushion her fall. Yep, that is Iris.

When we pulled up to visit her last week she was out in the front yard using a walker because she had broken her leg the month before but she walked on it for an entire week before she decided to see the doctor thinking it was only a sprain so the healing process of her break has been a slow one. Iris was in the front yard with the walker bending down to try and transplant flowers in her flowerbeds by herself. We jumped out of the car and immediately insisted she let us help. Her determination is incredible.

As I sat talking with Iris she showed me the extensive work she has been doing on her family history and genealogy. As we talked she shared that she doesn’t want to die until she finishes doing her family history work for her family. Again, she is giving every ounce of service she can right up until she takes her last breath.   That is why Iris is one of my heroes. I hope that when my life is done I too will let the Lord know I was really here and that I really lived!

Here is a photo of Aunt Iris on Life Magazine:


~Amy Rees Anderson


  • Jane says:

    Wow. What a beautiful tribute and its especially wonderful because you didn’t wait until her death to honor your aunt. You are precious.

  • Scott Wood says:


    Thanks for sharing this story about your grandma. What an amazing lady. I sure we and this new generation will continue to strive to make our ancestors proud. Live Life Large!


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