Virginia Irene McCauley

Published 9:39 am Friday, January 14, 2011

Virginia Irene McCauley, 87, died at her home in Panama City, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. Irene chose to enter eternity the way she lived her life- strong, in-control, and with her trademark wit and wisdom, determined to ease the pain of her leaving. Irene was born Jan. 21, 1923, to Richard and Clara Bailey Spencer in Superior. She graduated from Ironton High School. On Aug. 14, 1942, Irene married First Lieutenant Carroll McCauley, in Sebring, Fla. Mr. McCauley, a pilot in World War II, was preparing to fly to England. Lt. McCauley had just finished making the movie, “Bombardiers,” with Clark Gable. On May 13, 1943, Lt. McCauley, the lead pilot for the squadron, was shot down over Kiel, Germany, during the daylight bombing raids of the German submarine factories. Irene lost her husband two months before the birth of her only child, Carroll Lee McCauley, Jr. While Lt. McCauley was selected to represent the war dead of Ohio in Arlington National Cemetery, Irene refused this honor, opting instead to have him buried in Ironton. She wanted to be buried next to him when that time came. Irene never remarried. A telephone pioneer and member of the United Communication Worker of America, she supported her son, Carroll, as a single parent with great thrift and determination. Irene’s life was devoted to Carroll. They took the bus together to Ashland, Ky., or Huntington, W.Va., on the weekends to see a movie. They took the train to Virginia Beach most summers for a vacation and once even weathering a hurricane together at the Boardwalk Hotel. When Carroll was 10 years old, Irene and Carroll had to forego their vacation. They spent the summer together walking the picket line around the telephone company building. Together they walked and talked, and Carroll learned. Until Carroll was 15 years old, Irene didn’t drive. When Carroll started learning to drive, Irene signed up for lessons, too. Irene moved to Florida more than 30 years ago. For those 30 years, including the day she transitioned to heaven, Irene reserved lunch for Carroll. It was a time to debate politics, news and family issues. Irene was never without an opinion nor timid about sharing it. Irene is preceded in death by her mother and father and her four siblings, Wilbur, Margaret, Gene, and Helen. She is survived by many who will miss her deeply. Surviving family members include: son, Carroll, his wife Cynthia; niece Linda McKnight, her husband, Rick, and their son, Chad; nephew, Rich, his wife, Shawn, and their son, Patrick; nephew Steve and his wife, Mary, and their children, Steve and Vicki; seven grandchildren and their spouses, Melissa and her husband, Chuck; Carroll III, Kurt and his wife, Katey, Chad and his wife, Tracy, Mike and his wife, Ann, Crystal, Sarah, and her husband, Tom. There are also 12 surviving great-grandchildren: Krista, August, Karl, Elsa, Gretyl, Paul, Carroll IV, Isaac, Eloise, George, Norah, and Keegan. The family is grateful to the many friends who enriched her life throughout the years. Deep appreciation is extended to her granddaughter, Crystal, and niece, Linda, who became her guiding lights as her life dimmed. The family received friends on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wilson Funeral Home, Panama City. Donations may be made to your favorite charity. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at Phillips Funeral Home with Rev. Jim Lee Cremeans officiating. Burial will follow in Woodland Cemetery next to her husband, Carroll. Friends may call Saturday from 10-11 a.m. at Phillips Funeral Home. To offer condolences to the family, please visit

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