Obituary: South Orange Arts Leader Milly Iris, 82

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Milly Iris

Milly Iris, long-timer South Orange resident, art aficionado and a founding member of the Board of Governors of South Orange Performing Arts Center, passed away Friday, Oct. 24 in Haddonfield, NJ.

According to a release from SOPAC, Iris was “an avid arts lover and philanthropist who brought a special joy to all that she touched.”

NJJN reported that Iris owned the gallery “Whichcraft Studio for the selective i” in South Orange for more than 30 years, as well as galleries in Millburn and Long Beach Island. She was the benefactor of the Herb & Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC, “providing artists with opportunities to reach new audiences.”

“Milly was instrumental in ensuring that SOPAC became a venue for the visual as well as the performing arts,” said SOPAC board chair Tony Leitner. “We celebrate the Herb & Milly Iris Gallery and the gifted artists whose works we have been able to display.”

NJJN also noted Iris’s work in creating teen programs: “Following [her husband] Herb’s death in 2006, Milly set out to honor her husband’s memory and build on their commitment to young people through support of innovative programming for Jewish teens in Greater MetroWest. She and her family helped create the Iris Teen Tzedekah Program, which engages teens in learning about Jewish philanthropy and its impact through grant-making and activism.”

Iris is survived by two daughters, Roree Iris-Williams and Kerry Iris; sons-in-law Peter Iris-Williams and Eric Kassoff; and five grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Oct. 29 at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel. Memorial contributions may be made to South Orange Performing Arts Center, One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ 07079; the Iris Teen Tzedekah Fund, c/o Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, 901 Route 10, Whippany, NJ 07981; or The Iris Family Early Childhood Education Center at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, 432 Scotland Rd., South Orange, NJ 07079.

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