Iris Bennett Siegel was born in Houston to a wonderful set of parents, Elizabeth and George Bennett, on October 19, 1921. She was a graduate of San Jacinto High School, where she won multiple prizes in Latin competitions, and went on to the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated summa cum laude and was president of her sorority (Sigma Delta Tau). Iris then returned to Houston, taking a job at the Bell Telephone Company, where she trained telephone operators in service etiquette and responsiveness in a day when these qualities meant something to American business. In late 1947, she met the love of her life, Jacob Siegel, MD, who pursued a whirlwind courtship leading to their marriage in1948. They remained together for sixty-one years, raising three children. Iris was a vital partner in her husband's Spring Branch medical practice, managing all business affairs. After her children were grown, she became a volunteer for Houston Lighthouse for the Blind, took classes in literature and theatre with her book club amici, and remained a devoted companion to her husband until his death in 2009. Although she was born with a degenerative eye disease, her disability never interfered with her enjoyment of books, music, dancing, friends, her children and grandchildren. She will be remembered for her warm heart, her wit, her love of poetry, good writing, and music, her encyclopedic knowledge of song lyrics, and her sweet nature. The family thanks the fine longtime caregivers who helped her to live as she wished in the last years of her life. Graveside services will be held on Sunday, November 15, 2015, at 1:00pm, Beth Israel Cemetery, 1101 Antoine, Houston. Memorial contributions can be made to the Jewish Family Service, Houston Lighthouse for the Blind, the Talking Book Program of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, or Sight into Sound.
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