Irene Harris Kigh dies at 90

Irene Harris Kigh

Herald staff report

Long-time Hyde Park resident Irene Harris Kigh died on Monday, Jan. 14, at the age of 90.

Born in Chicago on Aug. 24, 1928, she spent her formative years in in the city, attending Medill Elementary School. Her father died when she was 13, and she and her sister Pearl Harris moved to Columbia, Tennessee to live with their grandparents.

In the late 1940s, she moved back to Chicago. In 1962, she married Clarence Kigh. They had one son, Carvel, who died in Texas in 1995.

Through the years, Mrs. Kigh worked for the State of Illinois, the YMCA, the Center for New Horizons and then as the receptionist for the Hyde Park Herald. She spent more than two decades making sure the Herald ran as smoothly as possible until her retirement in 2012.

“Irene was one of the most wonderful people I’ve had the opportunity to have a friendship and work with,” said Sue Walker, general manager of the Herald. “She was very old school in her approach to her position at the Herald and life.

“One of my favorite memories was when she decided to break up a fight of local high school kids when our office was on 51st street. She fought her way in among about 10 kids and asked them if that was how their mothers raised them. She told them to go home and they did! Irene retired and came back with us a few times in her career. Her favorite topic was Chelsea, her granddaughter. She will definitely be missed.”

Mrs. Kigh was known as something of a fashion icon – stylish, classic and on point, with a flair for choosing just the right accessories.

She developed many friends through her years in Hyde Park, developing deep friendships. She is remembered as loving and generous member of the community.

She held a special place in her heart for the furry members of Hyde Park society. She never met a dog that she didn’t like, and they all knew it. She was always ready with a warm pet for anybody’s dog she met.

Services for Mrs. Kigh will be Wednesday, Jan. 23 at New Rose of Sharon Church, 5844 S. Rockwell in Chicago. Visitation is at 10 a.m. and the memorial service starts at 11 a.m.

Mrs. Kigh is survived by her granddaughter, Chelsea Kigh of Arlington, TX.; her nieces Joy Majied of Washington, D.C.; Gloria Jean Palmer and Sheila Bryant of Chicago; Patricia Neal of Nashville, TN; nephew Marvin Wilson of Chicago; her former daughter-in-law Ernestine Kigh of Arlington, TX. and a host of great nieces and nephews, cousins and extended family and friends.

(Editor’s note: This article has been updated.) 

(This report includes information provided by the family.)