Irene Gibbons Jordan, Sea Ranch Lakes, died peacefully on Sunday, March 30, 2014. She lived a very full and happy life surrounded by her large, supportive family. Her husband of more than fifty years, Gerald Francis Jordan, died in 1995. Mr. and Mrs. Jordan had 11 children, 26 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, with two more on the way. Not too surprisingly, she was once bestowed with the honor of Irish Mother of the Year by the Emerald Society of Fort Lauderdale. Mrs. Jordan was always was ready with a smile and a hug for the oldest and youngest family members and close friends.
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Born on Chicago's South side in 1916, Mrs. Jordan lived through many important historical events: the Great Depression, two World Wars and the turn of a century. She graduated from DePaul University in 1936 with a degree in education, and married in 1942. Her husband received his papers from the Navy to report to duty during their honeymoon. Her husband's mother did not mention the papers until they returned, so they would have a nice start to their lives together, but causing some friction when he reported a few days late for military duty. Immediately after they were married, they moved to Boston, where her husband served in World War II as a Naval Officer.
Returning to Chicago after the war, the family continued to grow while Mrs. Jordan maintained the household through the post-war boom, a polio virus that nearly took her husband, and the start of his textile company. Mrs. Jordan, who was once told that she would never have children due to the Rh factor, continued to be blessed with more and more children. She gave birth to her eleventh child when she was in her late forties.
Mrs. Jordan bestowed a lifelong love of travel in her children. The family would spend the summers at a small cottage in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. One year, the family (of 7 at the time) was quarantined there. Undaunted, she also packed the family (of 12 at the time) on a long excursion to Europe. Each child was provided with a suitcase, Sunday outfits and strict instructions not to miss a train or fall behind. Mrs. Jordan and her husband visited many destinations in their lifetime, including Cuba, Puerto Rico and Spain. They also traveled on Queen Mary and the supersonic Concorde to Europe.
In 1970, after many car trips from Chicago to Florida in the family station wagon and the sale of her husband's company, the family moved to Fort Lauderdale. A few years later, the family moved to Sea Ranch Lakes, where Mrs. Jordan maintained a residence until last month. Sea Ranch Lakes provided many opportunities for her to establish lasting friendships and instill a love of the outdoors in her family. The family loved sailing, boating, water skiing, snorkeling and Sunday BBQs at the beach. Many Saturday nights, Mrs. Jordan would cook fresh lobster and fish caught by her children. Saturday night dinners are fondly remembered as the night in which there was no dress code. No shirt and no shoes were the norm. The Jordans celebrated many family events, including weddings, at the community beach club.
Through it all, Mrs. Jordan always maintained a smile and a warm embrace to all she encountered. She was always ready with a story of one of her children, grandchildren or great grandchildren achieving a milestone. She stressed living a complete life with religion, education and health as the core tenets.
She also enjoyed the lighter side of life. She had a great Irish wit that enabled her to see the lighter side of life and the funny stories of misadventure, broken bones and children. To her final days, she never said no to an invitation for lunch, a family party, or even a cruise on the Jungle Queen. Bon voyage Mrs. Jordan! May your next adventure be as meaningful and inspirational as your time with us on Earth.
Her visitation will be Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Baird-Case Jordan-Fannin Funeral Home, On Thursday, at 10 a.m. there will be a mass of Christian Burial at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 1701 Oakland Park Blvd, Oakland Park, Florida. The family wishes the in lieu of flowers a donation be made in her honor to the ALS Research Foundation, at University of Miami, 1150 NE 14 St Suite 1313 Miami, Florida 33136 or on-line at www.miami-als.org.
Baird-Case/Jordan Fannin Funeral Home
4343 North Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale , FL 33308-5207
Published in Sun-Sentinel on Apr. 3, 2014