Irene Ritter was born with the singular gift of knowing how to live in the moment.

Every January 1st, for seventy years, people have given thanks for the amazing spirit and talent that was let loose upon this world. She was born to a nurse, Martha Belle Hurliman, and a M.A.S.H. doctor, E.F. Ritter, during World War II. She grew up on a farm in Iowa with two sisters, Martha Ritter and Mitzi Ritter Sansoni, and a brother, Fritz, and an unmatched notion of what could be created out of ... not much.

Through her life, Irene dazzled people with her beauty, wit and style. She was Editor, then Publisher of Nashville Magazine and as Deputy Mayor of Nashville in the 80's, Irene made her mark upon Nashville. She recreated herself at age 55 by going to art camp and learned how to carve stone. For the next twenty years she created works of art that will make people catch their breath for generations to come. She has always been a patron of the arts and took great joy from art created by her friends (as well as her own).

Irene died at home, on her sofa, with a fire going, music playing and her adoring children, Tory Sally Fitzgibbon and Chris Sally, at her side. Irene is survived by her siblings, her children and five fabulous grandchildren, Liam, Henry, Harry, Gibson and Katharine Irene.

The family is planning a celebration of life at 2 p.m., Saturday, February 16th at Irene's home. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that the best way to honor Irene is to cherish the gift of life, take care of the less fortunate and don't have regrets, life is too short.