A genealogy blog about the migration generation of my McKee Family line, including bios, transcribed obituaries, photographs, and research notes.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Iris Marvel (Corcoran) Charley, 1917-2011, California and Oregon

I have a number of outstanding McKee-related requests for lots of stuff from lots of different places. The Rogue Valley Genealogical Society recently fulfill one of my picture requests at Find A Grave. I was looking for a picture of Glowrene Dee (Charley) Gwin's grave site. On a whim, I checked to see who else was buried in the cemetery. Glowrene's parents Eldred Floyd Charley and Iris Marvel Corcoran Charley are in the same cemetery. The memorial for Eldred is complete; however, Iris was outstanding. Since she was born in 1917 and had no date of death, I decided to google her name and her obituary turned up in the Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, 19 Nov 2011.

"GG" (for great grandmother) was the name that Iris preferred. GG's obituary starts with a description of an iris: "The iris flower means faith, hope, wisdom, courage and admiration and is the perfect match for the life of Iris Charley."

The obituary notes that her parents were William and Fern Corcoran. Iris was their oldest child. The family starts out in Sacramento where Iris was born. The Corcoran family moved to Medford in 1930. According to the obituary, Iris was an early driver. At age 12, she drove her father to the doctor when he was suffering a case of appendicitis. At age 13, Iris drove the second car behind her father as the family moved from California to Oregon.

Iris attended school at the Butte Falls School District. During the depression, families with children in the school received a small subsidy. In the case of the Corcoran family, they received $20 for Iris and her sister Carol. Iris eventually graduated from the two-year old South Medford (Central) High School.

I don't have a marriage date for her but sometime between her graduation and 1937, she married Eldred Floyd Charley. Eldred and Iris had the first of five children 12 Dec 1937. The couple had the following children: Glowrene, Jacqueline, Loyal, Curtis, and Kevin.

Early in her marriage--the obituary doesn't say why--Iris had a front row seat on history.
"On December 7, 1941, she was a witness to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. She was living on a hill overlooking the Navy base, and she told stories of being able to see "the whites of the eyes" of the Japanese pilots as they flew above her house before sweeping down on the harbor. After the attacks Iris, while pregnant with her first son, Bill, and her two daughters, Jacque and Glo, were relocated to the mainland in transport ships under the escort of Navy destroyers. During the voyage, Iris could hear the depth charges as the Navy responded to sightings of Japanese submarines."

In addition to their five children, Iris and Eldred raised foster children--over 100 boys, many of whom stayed in touch over the years.

Eldred preceded Iris in death (FAG 59794431) as did her daughter Glowrene (FAG 68915736). All of Iris' remaining children survive along with their spouses and 16 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren. The obituary lists them by name.

According to her obituary, Iris kept abreast of the event, trials, and triumphs of each of her descendants. She made a point of making sure that all 94 people in her family received a Christmas gift. Iris was treasured for her unconditional love. The obituary reports that among her last words were "I had a beautiful life."  

You can find Iris on Find A Grave at memorial 59794432.

See update for more information. Iris was married twice.

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