SAVOY — Lois S. Irion, 95, of Savoy passed into the arms of her savior on Tuesday (Jan. 11, 2022) with family members at her side.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Lois Eugenia Sarah Stern was born on Aug. 25, 1926, to Eugene A. and Mathilde (Bolz) Stern of Decatur. As a child, she displayed interest and talent in music. While attending elementary school at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Decatur, she began studying violin. Lois played in the school orchestra at Decatur High School. She earned a bachelor of music degree in applied violin at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She also received advanced violin instruction at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.
After her graduation from the University of Illinois, Lois married Frederick W. Irion, a UI law student. In 1949, Lois and Frederick moved to Ottawa, Ill., the community which was their home for many years, where Frederick practiced law and Lois immersed herself in raising their two daughters and pursuing her musical interests. In addition to teaching private violin lessons, Lois served as concertmaster of the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra for 35 years. She also directed the adult and children’s choirs of Zion Lutheran Church in Ottawa. Lois was involved in state and national music associations and played in chamber music groups. While in Ottawa, she was also active in the Amateur Musical Club and Monday Club.
Through her interest in violin instruction, Lois attended a Suzuki Method workshop in Matsumoto, Japan, with renowned violinist and pedagogue Mr. Shinichi Suzuki. This was one of the highlights of her musical life; subsequently, Lois became one of the early Suzuki Method instructors in the United States.
Frederick and Lois returned to the Champaign-Urbana community in 1987 after his retirement from his Ottawa law practice. Lois soon re-immersed herself in a variety of musical and social activities. She played in the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, directed the Windsor Singers at The Windsor of Savoy, and played violin for services at St. John’s Lutheran Church once a month. She was active in Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, Tuesday Morning Musical Club and other organizations.
Her lifelong fascination with architecture and houses grew into a professional interest, and Lois obtained a real-estate brokers license in 1970. She was actively involved in a real-estate career, first in Ottawa and later in Champaign, until retirement in 1996.
Lois’ other interests included travel, entertaining, playing bridge and reading. Her foreign travels took her to Russia, Spain, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, France, Japan, Israel and Jordan. Until the last few weeks of her life, she still looked forward to playing bridge with her friends at The Windsor of Savoy.
Throughout her life, Lois was known for her cheerfulness and generosity. Her favorite Bible verses were Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say, Rejoice!” and Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, ... honest, ... just, ... pure, ... lovely, ... of good report, if there be any virtue and ... any praise — think on these things.”
Lois was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Frederick; and three sisters, Lillian Stern of Decatur, Faye Stern Sablotny of Decatur and Joanna Stern Lange of Indianapolis.
She is survived by her daughters, Susan Townsend (John G.) of Champaign and Nancy Miller (James P.) of Savoy. She is also survived by four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, as well as a nephew, nieces and cousins.
Interment will be next to her husband at Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to St. John’s Lutheran Church and School, 509 S. Mattis Ave., Champaign, IL 61821; Great News Radio, P.O. Box 550, Fisher, IL 61843; or the University of Illinois Foundation School of Music Annual Fund, 1305 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801. Condolences may be offered at morganmemorialhome.com.