A Celebration for the Life of Eric Ives 1931 – 2012 by Lucy Churchill

Posted By on October 29, 2012

Unfortunately I could not attend the memorial service for Professor Eric Ives as I had to travel to attend a family funeral, but Lucy Churchill, who you may know from the beautiful replica Anne Boleyn medal she makes, has kindly written this article for us. Thank you so much, Lucy.

Eric Ives’ memorial service was held last weekend at Warwick School (where he had been a governor for many years).
It was “a celebration of a life of joy and laughter”, in the words of Sue Ives, Eric’s daughter and a lay preacher, as she opened the service. Indeed I have never seen so many merry faces or heard so many gales of laughter at a memorial.
It will be a surprise to those who knew Eric only as a Tudor historian, and the foremost champion of Anne Boleyn, that she was only mentioned once, in passing. Though we revere his work, it was clearly only a small aspect of this energetic, thoughtful man’s life; Eric the Academic, the Governor, the Churchman, and the Family Man were all discussed with equal praise and affection.

Listening to the reforms he pushed through and the projects he initiated, one was left wondering how he found the time to attend to and support so many individuals. Apparently he never considered himself to be a ‘people person’, and yet he so clearly was. The headmaster of Warwick School said that Eric’s manner brought the words of Mother Theresa to mind:

“You are not called to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”

It was said that he had the gift of “making the complex accessible to all”, and that he had the mind of a scientist. Sure of the strength of his research, he went forward with great conviction. Eric’s son John told of how his students had put a poster on his door saying “I always look at both sides of an argument – my side, and the wrong side”. Eric took great pleasure in this jibe.

As a churchman, Eric was very keen to establish dialogue between the different faiths. His deep religious certainty looked over small differences, as he sought to advance the whole. It was this same quest for truth and understanding that motivated his academic work, and from the Bible, Paul’s words to Timothy were brought to mind:

“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”

Eric Ives accomplished a great deal in his life, and has left many who regret his passing. I came away with a sense of a life well lived, and happiness to have had contact with such an inspiring man.

Lucy Churchill

‘The Falcon on the Roses’ – The badge of Anne Boleyn embroidered by Susan Ives, from the back of Eric Ives’ memorial service sheet.

Photos used with permission of Sue Ives.

7 thoughts on “A Celebration for the Life of Eric Ives 1931 – 2012 by Lucy Churchill”

  1. Jane says:

    Oh my word, I had somehow missed this sad news of the passing of Professor Ives. A great man of learning and scholarship. He will be much missed. I shall revisit his work on Anne Boleyn as a tribute.

    RIP and rise in glory, Eric Ives.

  2. ginneyb says:

    That was a lovely post Lucy! Thank you for writing it and I am glad Claire posted it. Thank you ladies!

  3. Dawn 1st says:

    The memorial service sounds like it was a true celebration of a life that was full of achievement and love of others. What a truly exceptional man he was. Prof. Ives will be sorely missed, but forever remembered for many things.

    I do love the story of the ‘Poster’…I think I may that my motto, and pin on a wall in our home, and see what reaction it gets from my brood… 🙂

  4. Tamar says:

    Professor Ives, we are so grateful for your time with us on this earth.

  5. Ceri C says:

    Thanks Lucy. I’m glad it was such a celebration rather than a sad affair.

  6. Roland H. says:

    An excellent tribute!

  7. Thank you Lucy for writing this article. Would have loved to have gone to Eric’s memorial and celebrated the life of such a great and inspiring man.

    Your words have certainly painted a picture of a celebration rather than the mourning of the passing of person that will be missed by all in the Tudor community and his friends & family.

    You are very lucky to have been invited and I am glad you shared the experience with us all.


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