Doyle, Irene Mary
- Born: 18 Feb 1895, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
- Marriage: Clair, John Pius on 27 Jan 1920 in The Church of Our Lady, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
- Died: 16 Aug 1970, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
- Buried: Church of Our Lady, Guelph Ontario, Canada
James and Sarah's first daughter was named Irene Mary and she was born February 18th, 1895. She was baptized at The Church of Our Lady, Guelph on the 24th and her sponsors were James and Mary Lynch Bicker. She attended Downey's School (S.S.No 3) and Loretto Academy where she graduated in June 1911. After her high school graduation, Irene attended Guelph Model School and Hamilton Normal School where she obtained a Public School Teachers Third Class Certificate 20 Dec 1912. After teaching in Goderich, Nanticoke and Downey's School, she received her Second Class Teachers Certificate 10 Apr 1915. She resigned her teaching position at Downey's Christmas 1919 and married John Pius Clair at 6:30 a.m. on 27 Jan 1920 in The Church of Our Lady.
Aunt Irene was a very loving and kind person who looked after my Mom (Marguerite Mary Doyle Meehan), when she was a toddler. As with many large families the older kids helped with the younger kids. Based on the pictures I have of Mom and the number of times Aunt Irene appears, I get the impression that she was not only an older sister, but that they had a special bond similar to one that you would have between good friends. Aunt Irene was also my Mom’s teacher at the Downey School. In 1943, it will be Aunt Irene’s daughter, Marie Clair Bruce who will take the time to care for me and becomes my mentor and friend as a young toddler. After the ceremony, the newlyweds left by train for a two month honeymoon trip to St. Petersburg, Florida with stopovers at various cities along the way. On their return, they moved in with John's family - his mother, Ellen, his sister, Mary, and his brother, Joseph, on the original Clair farm - Lot 10 Concession 8, Pus1inch Township.
Their first three children, John Joseph, Marie Catherine and William Francis, were born there before the family moved across Brock Road to the farm - Lot 10, Concession 7 - which John had purchased several years before. He modernized the house, which included installing two bathrooms and wiring it for electricity. Over the next ten years, five more children were born - Helen Therese, James Eugene, Sarah Louise, Joseph Patrick and Irene Miriam.
When the Clair’s took up residence, the property was devoid of trees and flowers except for one lone apple tree west of the house. Irene, who loved gardening, planted various trees and flowers to landscape the property including a cedar hedge beside the driveway, and two blue spruce trees on the front lawn. John was a dedicated farmer and the two farms kept him and his brother, Joseph very busy. Within a few years, he had the garage built onto the house and the sleeping porch and sunroom added to the back. All eight children walked nearly a mile to the Brock Road School - S.S. No. 2, Puslinch. From 1925 to 1945 there was at least one Clair in attendance. As the years went by and the children grew up and moved away, John and Irene remained in their home. On March 28th, 1955, John died in his sleep at the age of 77. His wife, Irene, survived him fifteen years until she succumbed to a stroke on August 16th, 1970.
In 1956, when I was 13, I spent a month on their farm in Canada. This would have been about just over 16 months after Uncle John Clair (Marie’s husband) had died. This was probably the first time I was ever away from my immediate family, but I never remember feeling lonely or scared. I had never spent more than a few days on a farm prior to my visit to Canada. In 1947, 49 and 54 we visited my Dad’s family in Iowa but we never spent more than a few days on the farm. Aunt Irene Clair and her family who lived on their two farms opened their homes and hearts to me. I experience working on a farm, the summer crop harvest, and the love a family shares when they can be together almost every hour of every day. I promise to cover the trip in greater detail as I talk about the Clair’s and later about myself. I believe that one of the spruce trees that Uncle John Doyle planted in the 1920’s had been cut down for some reason and I helped Cousin Jack Clair pull the roots of the tree out of the ground using a 1953 Case Tracker. I can remember the small things e.g., Margarine at that time in Canada could not be purchased with the yellow color we see today. It would come with a separate packet of yellow die that you could add to the white margarine to give it clear. Anyway, I can remember setting around their kitchen table adding the yellow die to the margarine though the process of squeezing and punching the yellow die into the white margarine. I will never forget the first and last time I had dumplings. One day, Aunt Irene made everyone’s favorite dinner - “Chicken and Dumplings”. I found out that I may be the only person in the world who does not like Dumplings. I really felt bad knowing how much work went into the process of making the dinner, but I could not eat the dumplings to save my life. To this day I have never had dumplings again. I only tell this story because Aunt Irene went out of her way to make me feel welcome and the chicken and dumplings dinner was one of her special treats to the family. The problem was not with the dumplings but with my appreciation of the dumplings. It took a lot of work to make that chicken and dumplings dinner and I might not have appreciated the dumplings but I really appreciated the love and family that was shared with those dumplings. Mom appeared more relaxed and at home in Canada, almost like she was “Home”, when she came to pick me up. The following few pages will cover the Clair branch of the Doyle/Meehan relatives. I’ve again used Irene Giles book for most of the information and added my memories and pictures where possible.
Irene married John Pius Clair on 27 Jan 1920 in The Church of Our Lady, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. (John Pius Clair was born on 10 Jul 1877 and died on 28 Mar 1955.)