On Saturday, January 23, the children of Iris Marie Laurent Stanford held a drive-by outdoor, memorial at the LA Sentinel. Family, friends, colleagues, and over 40 people on zoom gathered outside the Sentinel, where Iris she worked in the Classified section department for 27 years. The memorial was opened with a prayer by pastor and cousin, Kasey Whitney. The spirit-filled event filled with a purple theme, included speeches from her children, Kyara, Tanya, and Wellington, Jr., who spoke about their experiences and lessons bestowed upon them by their mother. Also, the other spoke gave testimonies on their experiences with iris. As the event summed up the memorial, the assembly of attendees released 66 purple balloons in Iris’s honor, on Crenshaw Blvd., as the DJ played Gladys Night’s “I Hope You Dance.”
My Mother was built on LOVE. My foundation was built off caring for others and having a positive attitude with anything you do. Our mother was our biggest fan; always happy for the smallest things we did and so proud of us. Mom, we were just if not prouder of you. You never let us down and you always held us; you stayed strong when your mother transitioned, and you showed us the essence of a Black Women. Life will be hard without you but all that you instilled in us will make it easier than we think. P.S. Lil’ Wells is getting those kisses all over his peachy face every morning, and I will celebrate every time just for you.
Son, Wellington L. Stanford, Jr.
Our Mother’s favorite color is purple. Purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, devotion, peace, pride, independence and magic. Our mother was all of those things and so much more. Different walks of life came to honor our mother while walking down the purple train of photographic memories. Over 45 family members and friends on a zoom call were able to capture the memorial from their homes while sharing and exchanging stories, which I thought was so breathtaking. Our Mother, grandmother, and adopted mother to some, reached and touched so many lives! We her children, grandchildren, family and friends wanted to do the same.
Daughter, Kyara L. Stanford
Trying to figure out how we would honor your presence on this earth was a little nerve racking since our family is huge, and we don’t play that you can come but you have to stay home guess list thing. We wanted to be safe and we wanted everyone else to be safe as well, because you taught us to not only take care of ourselves, yet take care of others too. We gathered photos that would somehow give everyone a snapshot of the LOVE-filled caring life you lead. People could drive by see and feel the love you left on this earth. Despite threatening storms, the sun shined bright, and the memorial turned out to be an amazing tribute to your life. We choose to take you back to the place that brought you so much joy for most of your life, the Los Angeles Sentinel. We cannot mention you without the paper because the paper was a part of you. The releasing of 66 balloons in your honor was the most beautiful moment for me. Your spirit reigns supreme in that building and you, MOM, will forever be MISSED and NEVER FORGOTTEN. –
Daughter, Tanya L. Payne
To my mother-in-law, aka my mom, I want to thank you for being a great nana and mother, for you were wise words and your straight-forward advice on life. Also, for accepting me and my son, Lil Leonard, over 13 years ago. I remember your famous words that I will never forget, and when I first came over to your house on Town Ave., and I meet you and Tanya’s kids. You came in the house from work and your first words to me were, ‘are you ready for this; do you think you can handle being a dad to her kids and be a good man to her? I said yes, proudly, and I just hope I can keep making you proud by keeping my word and being a good man to your daughter, and a good father to your grand kids. I love you mom and i wish you and your smile was still here with us all. The world lost a great spirit of a person.
Son-in-law, Leonard Payne
Nana was always radiating with joy. She always listened to Berry White and when we were around her, we felt nothing but happy vibes. Whenever we needed a hug, she would always be there to give us the best hugs. We love you always and forever, NaNa.
Grandchildren, Sion, Charles, Judah, Journey, Lil’ Leonard, Daniel, and Lil’ Wellington
She was my wife, my friend, and the mother of my children. We always prayed together. I was able to come back down from my hometown (Belize) to be here for my children and grandchildren. It’s going to be a void because she was such a special person, but this is a time not to be sad but to celebrate her life.
Father of children, Wellington Stanford, Sr.
Iris Maria Lauren Stanford Memorial Gallery (photos E. Mesiyah McGinnis / LA Sentinel).