Irene Blachford


Irene Blachford passed away peacefully on November, 7, 2022.  She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Laurie, her two children, Alistair and Diane, and her three grandchildren, Daphne, Laurian and Freya.

Irene was born and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Laurie, the love of her life, found her there, having adventured away from central Saskatchewan as an electrical engineer.  After her children were born, the family moved to Toronto, then returned to Rio for "wonderful years" (her words) spent organizing family adventures, playing on the beach and at the club with the kids and helping with school projects, volunteering, participating in family pet shenanigans, organizing the Girl Scout troop, and supporting Laurie.  After Alistair finished high school, the family moved back to Toronto.


Irene was always in motion.  She loved tennis, playing singles well into her 70’s.  Bridge occupied many afternoons at the Sweet Gallery on Mount Pleasant. With Laurie, she played endless rounds of golf and rarely missed an opportunity to Scottish country dance.  With friends, Irene and Laurie attended seasons of the Stratford Festival and local Toronto theatre. Irene and Laurie loved to travel and went on many memorable trips to Asia, South America, eastern Europe, Scotland and the Caribbean.  


Irene was finally able to be a grandmother, and she leapt at every opportunity to help and spend time with Daphne.  From early babysitting to endless pick-ups and drop-offs at learn-to-swim, gymnastics and dance classes, Irene’s real dedication was to taxiing Daphne to competitive swim training sessions daily, listening to the latest happenings in Daphne’s life along the way and always remembering to bring the snacks. Sadly, Irene’s dementia and distance prevented her from showering Laurian and Freya with the same amount of time.

Irene was always vibrant, kind, generous, and was quick to laugh.  These traits were a fundamental part of her character, and never faded, even during her descent into dementia in her last years.  That change was frustrating for her and devastating for everyone who had known her as an exceptionally bright mind.

Irene supported many charities, but she donated her time, both in Rio and Toronto, to helping the blind.   A donation in her memory to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind ( would be appreciated.  A funeral will not be held. Condolences, photos and stories may be shared on the tribute wall.


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