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Blanche Loviza Irby

Blanche Loviza Irby, 83, of Huntsville and Madison, Ala., passed away Monday, May 24, 2021. Born in Vicksburg to John Joseph and Mabel Harris Loviza, Blanche graduated from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Vicksburg. Education was invaluable to her, and she returned to school as an adult to earn a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Theology from Athens State College. She continued to soak up life as a forever student.

With a heart of gold, Blanche never knew a stranger and radiated love and compassion. She saw the good in everything and everyone and treated each day as a gift. She was a volunteer at Meals on Wheels and a devoted member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Her loved ones believe she had a “direct line to God,” as she was a true prayer warrior for everyone she knew. Fittingly, two priests were drawn to her side to deliver her last rites. She always wanted to meet God, and those who knew her find peace in knowing she now rests in His embrace. 

Blanche is survived by her husband of 62 years, Thomas “Tom” Irby, with whom she built a life of laughter, love, travel and plenty of dancing. Their romance sparked at school dances, and they married on April 12, 1959. At every wedding, she and Tom stole the dance floor with their light feet and loving gaze. They celebrated two vow renewals and served as pillars of love and devotion for their family and friends.

Marriage to Tom was an adventure Blanche bravely embraced. She willingly tried new things, such as hiking, backpacking, snow skiing, sailing and scuba diving. She water skied until age 70 — a passion she and Tom passed down to their children and grandchildren. As a patron of the arts, she enjoyed reading, weaving and theatergoing, especially to Fantasy Playhouse with her grandchildren.

Blanche was preceded in death by her parents; and two of her siblings, Dorothy Faye Vedros (Phillip) and John William Loviza (Emily). A beloved mother, sister and grandmother, she leaves behind children, Lisa Derasaugh (David), Peter Irby (Yvonne), Thomas “Griff” Irby (Anna) and Christie Burgess (Ron); siblings, Joseph Loviza (Glenda) and Myrtle Curro Alvarado (Bobby); and grandchildren, Andrew, Jessica (Tom), Ryan, Meagan, Rachael, Grant, Grace, Zachary and Brandon. She lives on in their loving memory and will be deeply missed.

   Visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 27, 2021, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Madison, Ala. The funeral service begins at 2 p.m. and will be officiated by Father Bryan K. Lowe, Pastor. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Madison Senior Center Nutrition and Meal Program, 12882 Hughes Road, Madison, AL 35758.