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DOWNEY – Iris Marie Thompson Tautfest, a longtime Downey resident and community volunteer, died Aug. 7 of natural causes at Windsor Gardens Skilled Nursing Facility in Anaheim.
She was 97 years old and a 33-year resident of Downey.
Born in Denver, Tautfest moved, with her parents, a sister and older brother, to Huntington Park at age 5. She graduated from Huntington Park High School in 1931.
She attended Los Angeles City College, obtaining an AA Degree as a dental hygienist. She spent 12 years working for Dr. Walter Thompson in Huntington Park.
Tautfest was a member of the United Methodist Church in Huntington Park, where she met her husband of 45 years, Willard Tautfest.
The couple moved to Bell Gardens in 1949, where they raised their three children. They were very involved in Bell Gardens politics, working with many others within the city to incorporate. Willard was a city councilman for many years, and served as mayor one year.
They were also active in Bell Gardens Christian Church as Sunday school teachers. Iris was named “Mother of the Year” in 1968.
She was a member of Downey First Baptist Church for 32 years. She played the piano for almost 20 years in the third grade Sunday school department.
While in her 80s, she volunteered weekly at the LivingHelp Center, a nonprofit crisis pregnancy clinic in Downey. She also did volunteer work for Child Evangelism Fellowship in Bellflower.
A public viewing will be held Friday from 5-7 p.m. at Miller-Mies Mortuary in Downey. Private internment will be Saturday morning at Rose Hills in Whittier. A public memorial service is scheduled for Saturday at First Baptist Church of Downey at 11:30 a.m. Rev. Denny Clemetson will officiate.
She is survived by her son, Michael Tautfest; daughters, Karyn (Mike) Ehrenfeldt and Sharyn Pohlman; grandchildren, Lissett Tautfest Flores, Ivy Pohlman Rerko, Kristy Tautfest Gimenez and John Ehrenfeldt; and five great-grandsons: David, Martin, Nicolas, Marco and Lorenzo.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her honor to the LivingHelp Center in Downey or Child Evangelism Fellowship, 16815 S. Bellflower Blvd., Bellflower 90706.
Published: August 11, 2011 – Volume 10 – Issue 17