My mother passed away last Saturday. Here's her obituary. Chris Mulholland firstname.lastname@example.org
Iris Margarete (Frese) Mulholland, Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM), was instrumental in bringing life to thousands of babies in three different countries over six decades. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, February 12, 2022 in Chesapeake, VA. Born 13 March 1928 in Dresden, Germany she was the sixth of seven children to Reverend Wilhelm Friederich and Louise Marie Julie (Ilse) Frese.
Living in Berlin during WWII, she barely missed being drafted into combat service in the last few weeks of the war and carried vivid memories for the rest of her life. In 1947 Iris completed her Abitur in nursing in Tübingen, Germany and worked as a midwife and OR/pediatrics nurse. In search of adventure, she then moved to Oxford, England where she earned a second degree in midwifery in 1954.
After arriving in the US in 1959, she went to work at the Lying-In Hospital of Boston where she stayed for the next 35 years as it transitioned to the Boston Hospital for Women and then the Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH). During this time, she also worked with several private obstetricians and at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge.
As a divorced mother of two boys and an active proponent of midwifery in the United States, Iris was a pioneer in the 60’s. In 1968 she proudly took the oath to become a naturalized US citizen.
During the 1970’s, Iris played a key role in the return of natural childbirth to Massachusetts and was a founding member of the Commonwealth’s Midwifery Oversight Committee. She was instrumental in the development of birthing rooms in Boston area hospitals and the establishment of the first birthing center at BWH. Working full time, she took night courses at Harvard and was certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) after completing additional professional education courses at Ohio State University. Before her retirement in 1994, she was the Director of the BWH Midwifery Group, the oldest continuous midwifery practice in Massachusetts.
During her many years in midwifery, she helped deliver babies for numerous luminaries such as Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal, Red Sox All-Star Jim Rice, Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruin Eddie Johnston, and Eleonore Campbell, youngest daughter of the von Trapp (“The Sound of Music”) family, amongst others.
Iris was an active, energetic, and vivacious lady who lived life to the fullest. A longtime member of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), she was a true outdoorswoman and enjoyed hiking, cross-country skiing, and exploring far off, exotic places around the world. Iris was an insatiable reader with an extensive personal library. During most of her 50 plus years in the Boston area, she lived in Cambridge and Belmont. Upon retirement, she relocated to Salem where she became involved in the North Shore community as a docent at the Peabody Essex Museum and the Gedney House. In 2012, she moved to Chesapeake, Virginia to be near her oldest son and his family.
Iris is survived by her two sons; Chris and wife, Barbara, of Chesapeake, VA; and Maxwell and wife, Lynn, of Winthrop, MA; and 5 grandchildren, Kevin, Kathryn DeLacy & husband Rich, Christopher & wife Emilia, Ian, & Ross; and one greatgrandchild, Adelyn Iris DeLacy. Iris was the last of seven siblings: sisters Hedda Frese, Irmhild Geldard, & Gudrun Erickson; and brothers Gerd, Waldemar, & Helmut.
A memorial service is scheduled for two o’clock on March 30th, 2022 at Oman Funeral Home in Chesapeake. In accordance with Iris’ wishes, she will be cremated and her ashes scattered at several of her favorite places around the world.
The family is extremely grateful for all the care she received over the last several years from the staff at Cedar Manor Assistive Living Center. They also give their thanks to Heartland Hospice and Pastor Jonathan Fischer for providing comfort to Iris these last few weeks.
Iris was a cherished member of Boston’s midwife community; full of life, energy, and vivaciousness; a mentor; and a friend to all. “Oma” will be missed.