In Memory: Jeri Irving

Geraldine “Jeri” Irving , 95, a former assistant to the dean in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, died July 19 at a local assisted living facility. She served as assistant to deans Paul Ballantyne and James Null and remained close to Chancellor Emerita Pam Shockley-Zalabak and other faculty members following her retirement.

Her family published the following obituary in the Colorado Springs Gazette. Online condolences may be left at

Geraldine “Jeri” Irving went home to Jesus on July 19, 2017. Born April 14, 1922, in Galena, KS, Jeri grew up in Joplin, MO, and received her degree in Education at Missouri Southern State University. During WWII, she worked as a secretary in the Camp Crowder Hospital; there she met her future husband Sam, and they were married for 50 years. In 1954, they settled in Colorado Springs, where they raised their family.

Highlights of Jeri’s professional career include working as an administrative assistant in the Operations Analysis Office of the Air Defense Command (ADC) of the Air Force at ENT AFB (later, at the Chidlaw Building). After retiring from the Federal Government, she began her career at UCCS in 1974 as Assistant to the Dean of LAS (first for Paul Ballantyne and then James Null). Long-time friend and Chancellor Emerita, Pam Shockley-Zalabak, says, “Jeri was the consummate professional. She held confidences better than anyone at UCCS. She wrote brilliantly and expected those around her to do the same. She was a fine teacher and mentor. Her standards were among the highest with which I have ever been associated.”

Known as Marmee to her grandchildren and their friends, Jeri loved the arts, particularly literature, music, and fine art. She enjoyed traveling the world but was just as content nurturing roses in her garden, baking rhubarb pie, sewing, or doing needlework. Her home in the Palmer Park area was a gathering place for family and friends, the door always open for others to find sanctuary. Despite her sharp mind and natural curiosity, Jeri’s true passion was people; she will be remembered for her boundless generosity, compassion, and tender heart.

While sad to say goodbye, Jeri was eager to be united with Jesus and her friends and family who had gone before, including her mother Pearl Roach, sister Imogene Headlee, beloved husband Sam, daughter Cherie Owen, and grandson Kent Irving. Jeri is survived by her son Shannon Irving of Denton, TX, six grandchildren, including Blythe Hunt of Colorado Springs, and 16 great-grandchildren.

Charitable donations can be made in memory of Jeri Irving to the CU Foundation for UCCS.


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