Vera Garlow Iiams, 94, passed away Saturday evening, November 23, 2019, at Fairview Nursing Home surrounded by loving family members.
Vera was born in Pawcatuck, Connecticut, on November 3, 1925 to John and Vera Garlow, their third daughter. She was a graduate of Stonington High School, class of 1943.
Growing up on a farm in Pawcatuck that was perched on a hill off Pequot Trail, Vera dreamed of traveling past the horizon she saw in the distance. Her dream came true when she met her husband-to-be, a young Navy fighter pilot stationed at Charlestown Air Station.
On Christmas Eve, 1949, Vera married Meryl (Mike) Austin Iiams of Corvallis, Oregon. After their wedding in Westerly, Rhode Island, the couple honeymooned by driving across the country to Mike’s assignment in Monterey, California. They shared a beautiful life together moving to many different states and to London, England, where Mike was assigned the post of Assistant Naval Attache. It was during this four year period in London that Vera honed her cooking and entertaining skills. She continued to cook gourmet meals and set beautiful tables throughout the rest of her life. Anyone who was invited to a dinner at the Iiams’ was in for a treat: delicious food, beautiful surroundings and spirited conversations. One of Vera’s personal beliefs was that every place in the world has its charm; wherever the Navy sent the Iiams family, Vera set out to make a warm and nurturing home and meet new friends. Until the end, Vera looked for the good in people and in her surroundings.
Vera loved to laugh, and as all those who knew her can attest, her laugh was infectious. Never one to turn down an invitation to live life to its fullest, Vera loved to travel, listen to music, dance and socialize. In her 80s, she travelled to Europe, Peru and India. She had a strong sense of patriotism and was a passionate supporter of our armed forces.
After retirement, Vera and Mike settled in Pawcatuck, CT and undertook the challenge of building their own house. She volunteered at the Westerly Library spending countless hours directing the book sale for many years. In 2002 she was awarded the Gold Leaf Award for her dedicated service to the library. Community giving was a priority, and she served her community through generous donations of time and funding.
Vera is survived by her son, Dr. Gordon Iiams (Barbara) of Suffolk, VA, and daughter, Betsy Iiams (T.J. Dooling) of Pawcatuck; four grandchildren, Jeffery Iiams, Joshua Iiams, Emily Dooling, and Jaime Caldwell. Vera held many close friends near to her heart and considered them extended personal family members. She is predeceased by her loving husband, Captain Meryl A. Iiams and son, Lieutenant Jeffrey Allen Iiams.
A celebration will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main Street, Westerly. A calling hour for visitation will be held from 10 - 11 AM at the funeral home prior to the service. Burial will be held at Arlington Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Vera’s name to Westerly Public Library & Wilcox Park: 44 Broad Street • Westerly, RI 02891, https://www.westerlylibrary.org/