Remembering Irene W. McCoy, 1926-2021

Family and friends are remembering Irene W. McCoy and sharing this remembrance with the community:

It is with sadness that the family of Irene W. McCoy share news of Irene’s death on September 10, 2021 at the age of 94. As a long-time resident of Des Moines, WA and West Seattle, a teacher in the Seattle and Highline Public School Districts, and a faithful member of Tibbetts United Methodist Church, Irene was loved by all who knew her.

Born Irene W. Martin on December 25, 1926 in Liverpool, England, she grew up with three sisters and a brother. She enjoyed a happy childhood even though her pre-teen and teen years were greatly affected by World War II, including the consistent bombing of Liverpool and the rationing of food, gasoline and other common items.

Irene became an elementary school teacher and taught both in England and the USA. In 1955 she came to the USA as a participant in a one-year teacher exchange program sponsored by the Fulbright Teacher Exchange. She taught at Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle. Two teachers from West Seattle met Irene in New York City to welcome her to America. One was Dean McCoy. In 1956 she returned to England, where she continued teaching; in 1957 she emigrated to the USA to marry Dean and thus began a happy marriage of 47 years.

Irene is survived by her daughters and son: Dr. Jennifer McCoy; Ellen Johanson; Clive McCoy; her granddaughter Rachel Johanson; as well as nieces, nephews and cousins in England and the USA.

A private graveside service for family members will be held at Mountain View Funeral Home and Memorial Park in Lakewood, WA and a Celebration of Life Service will be held at a date, yet to be determined, at Wesley Retirement Community in Des Moines, WA. Preceded in death by her beloved husband, parents and four siblings, Irene has lived a joyful and complete life. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that tribute gifts may be made to Wesley Community Foundation,, or Tibbetts United Methodist Church, in her memory.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to

10 Replies to "Remembering Irene W. McCoy, 1926-2021"

  • johnny September 23, 2021 (9:26 am)

    Thank you for sharing – fascinating life history!  So important to celebrate our elders and those that we sadly lose.  

  • miws September 23, 2021 (9:51 am)

    The McCoys lived down the street from where I lived my first nearly 11 years. Jennifer and Ellen were playmates, along with other similar-aged kids on our block. My condolences go out to them, and to Clive as well… —Mike Stahl

  • Clay Eals September 23, 2021 (8:36 pm)

    I was fortunate to know Irene as a live wire and articulate storyteller — certainly a born teacher. One can see this and more by viewing a 28-minute video about a Southwest Seattle Historical Society pop-up museum event held Oct. 16, 2015, in the lobby of The Kenney. Irene was the guest of her daughter, Ellen Johanson, who worked there at the time.

  • WSLifer September 23, 2021 (9:19 pm)

    I feel blessed to have known Irene for as long as I can remember, as a church family member at Tibbetts UMC. She was caring and cheerful, wise and kind, and she loved a good laugh! Her storytelling was the best and I loved her way with words. She will be missed by all of us in her faith community.

  • eric September 24, 2021 (1:26 pm)

     Liverpool? She’s tops on my list. Cheers Irene!!

  • Jim September 24, 2021 (8:06 pm)

    I remember Irene from having met her at Lafayette with her daughter Ellen who I went to school with. Having just moved from Canada it was so nice to hear an English accent again.  45+ years later I crossed paths with her again as she was my host for dinner at the Wesley homes when I was doing the advance work for the West Seattle Big Band concert that evening. She was so tickled that I remembered her and we had a wonderful visit.

  • Gale Johnson September 26, 2021 (6:16 pm)

    I adored Irene. She always made us feel so special at our McCoy family gatherings and was so easy to talk to. Perhaps it was her English accent or her kind and gentle spirit that irresistibly drew us to her. She will be dearly missed! Gale (McCoy) Johnson

  • Nancy McCoy Nedderman September 26, 2021 (7:07 pm)

    We were so saddened by this news, as we loved your mother and her sweet kind ways.  The McCoy picnic was always a highlight of our summer, and seeing your family such a special joy.  We will never forget Aunt Irene and look forward to reuniting with the whole McCoy Clan one day soon. Love,Ted and Nancy (McCoy) Nedderman

  • Lisa Nissley September 26, 2021 (7:07 pm)

    Jennifer,Wonderful reading about your mom and her full life. Two of my three kids live in her Gatewood School neighborhood. I hope all went reasonably well during her end of life. Such a time for reflection. Best to you. I miss you!

  • Joyce Goldsworthy Kidd-Miller September 30, 2021 (7:55 pm)

    Our family has many fond memories of Irene, Dean, Jennifer, Ellen, and Clive.  Sending prayers for the progress of Irene’s and Dean’s souls in the next world and for the comfort of their children in this one.  The Goldsworthy Family    “O my God, Thy Trust hath been returned unto Thee.  It behooveth Thy grace and Thy bounty…to vouchsafe unto Thy newly welcomed one Thy gifts and Thy bestowals, and the fruits of the tree of Thy grace!”  Baha’u’llah 

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