'Strong, funny and relentless': Former TDSB trustee Irene Atkinson dies at 85

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Born in Greenock, Scotland, Irene Atkinson immigrated to Canada when she was 12. She served as a TDSB trustee for 40 years.  (TDSB - image credit)
Born in Greenock, Scotland, Irene Atkinson immigrated to Canada when she was 12. She served as a TDSB trustee for 40 years. (TDSB - image credit)

Veteran Toronto school trustee Irene Atkinson has died at the age of 85, according to an online obituary posted Friday.

A trustee at the Toronto District School Board for 40 years, Atkinson served as chair of the board and was also chair of the finance committee for a number of years.

She is lovingly remembered by her three daughters, husband, brother and niece, according to her obituary.

Apart from her work, Atkinson enjoyed travel, seeing friends, as well as "scotch, cigarettes, and a good book," the obituary reads.

"She was a force of nature and strove to make things better."

Atkison was also an animal lover. For anyone who wishes, the family asks that donations be made to an "animal charity of your choice" or to the Toronto Public Library.

In 2013, at the age of 77, Atkinson survived a house fire that nearly took her life. Afterwards, she said she had no memory of the blaze that tore through her High Park apartment and left her in intensive care.

Toronto city councillor Josh Matlow, who represents Ward 19, is remembering Atkinson as a "strong, funny and relentless" Toronto icon who was "always fighting for our city's kids."

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, visitations will be held on Saturday by invitation only.

A private funeral will be held on Sunday. Those who wish to view the service can do so online.

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