Iris "Ikey" Kerns Barksdale
The month of May never produced a more beautiful and unique Iris than on its 18th day in 1932.
Iris May "Ikey" Kerns Barksdale, born unto parents Ben and Hattie Kerns on the side of Paris Mountain more than 82 years ago, lived up to the beauty and mystery of her botanical namesake.
Ikey, who passed away on August 4, 2014, portrayed many qualities of the springtime delight: graceful while punctual, eclectic while fashionable, intricate while dependable, delicate while perennial. She was as special as a rare variety, and she provided the pleasure and comfort to her children like bees to a fresh bloom.
Ikey loved flowers enough to make it a lifetime hobby and profession. She served several communities as an award-winning floral designer, including Greenville, where she worked with Ken Vaughn and later with Frank Ogletree at The Embassy Flowers & Nature's Gifts.
Ikey's garden on Paris Mountain was a traffic-stopper. Her yard enjoyed the countless hours of labor and attention both she and her mother gave it for more than a century. The Greenville News wrote a centerpiece article for its July 18, 2000 edition on Ikey and her living masterpiece.
A memorial service will be held at the home, 805 N. Parker Road, at 1 p.m. on Aug. 23. Dwight Yoakam's music will be playing, and a recommended topic of discussion includes Kyle Busch. Yoakam and Busch were two of her favorite things when not working the garden.
Ikey was preceded in death by her parents, her brother (Pete Kerns), her sister (Sybil Kerns) and her son (Charles Bobo "Chuck" Barksdale III). She is survived by her daughters, Joy Barksdale Jones (with husband Rick Jones) of Raleigh, N.C. and Melony Barksdale Petty of Greenville. She has five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
While many obituaries these days say "in lieu of flowers," please do the opposite here: The more flowers the merrier as God's gift in beauty to humans and food to the bees was more than a passion to Ikey - flowers meant a way of life and new beginnings. Flowers capture the soul of Ikey, much like that warm, spring day in 1932.
Thomas McAfee Funeral Home - Northwest Chapel
6710 White Horse Road Greenville, SC 29611
Published in The Greenville News on Aug. 20, 2014