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Town dedicates memorial to beloved public servant

Edward Irla, front left, husband of the late Mary Irla, and their children and family surround the dedicated Magnolia tree. Reminder photo by Natasha Clark
By Natasha Clark

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM On Sept. 7, former colleagues, friends and family of the late Mary Irla gathered on the lawn of Wilbraham Town Hall to witness the dedication of a Magnolia tree in her honor.

Irla served as the Town Clerk for 16 years. She was elected in 1978 and served until 1994. The mother of four passed in 2002, and former Select Board member Kevin Moriarty saw it fit to have something in memory of a woman many thought highly of.

A few minutes after 10 a.m. last Thursday, Moriarty stood in front of Irla's seated family, the tall green tree that was planted that spring beside him, and said, "Mary was what an elected official is supposed to be."

He said you could always rely on her for very sound advice, and that there was a great loss when she passed.

Outgoing State Senator Brian Lees (R - East Longmeadow) followed Moriarty adding that Irla "did a tremendous job servicing the people of Wilbraham.

"Both Gale and I, when Mary told us to do something, we had to do it," he said motioning to State Representative Gale Candaras (D - Wilbraham) as she looked on.

Later Candaras recounted her many visits to the Irla home, thanked Moriarty, and reiterated Lees' sentiments by saying, "it doesn't get much better than this."

Irla's husband Edward also took a moment to thank everyone and honor his wife. He said that the dedication was timely since Irla's birthday was Sept. 11.

"Thank you very much," he said.

The dedicated tree is also marked with a stone and plaque.