A big thanks to all our recent fundraisers!
Irie Dell Grant was born to Jesse and Rosie Zena Grant on November 12 1942 in Belzoni, Mississippi. He was the youngest sibling and had a tremendous bond with his older sister “Lady” and brother “Red”. In 1948, Irie's father Jesse moved the family to Milwaukee where many of Irie's aunts and uncles had already migrated after the death of his mother. Reunited with family, Irie and his family built a strong community in Milwaukee. Irie attended public school in Milwaukee and quickly became known for his athletic and academic abilities. While attending North Division High School, Irie was a class officer and received numerous awards and recognition for basketball and track; including a scholarship to Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Irie was very proud of his high school alma mater and through the years participated in many activities and fundraising events while staying closely connected to his schoolmates where he was inducted into North Division's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.
Irie continued his successes as a scholar athlete at Carroll University. His athletic accomplishments on the basketball court were numerous including 4 years all-conference and all state, leading scorer in the state of Wisconsin for two years, MVP for three years and lettering for four years. He was inducted into the Carroll University Hall of Fame in 1976. After graduating from Carroll in 1966, Irie continued playing semi-professional basket ball and was named to the National Amateur All-American team in 1969.
Following college, Irie married Georgia Day and from that union Eric Dale and Donna Gail were born. Both Irie and Georgia worked in the Milwaukee Public School system. Irie enjoyed teaching and assisting with coach at both North Division and Carroll. However, he was recognized by leadership at Equitable in 1969 where he was recruited to become a Life Insurance agent. Irie rose quickly as a young sales agent and continued in roles with increasing responsibility ultimately having the role of Agency Manager. Irie retired from Equitable after 40+ years. While Irie was working at Equitable he continued to give back to the community in which he was raised even after moving to Chicago with Equitable.
Irie's dedication to Civic and Community service in Milwaukee left a foundation for generations to come. Irie was a founding Board member for North Milwaukee State Bank which was the first Black-Owned bank in Milwaukee whose mission was to facilitate underserved communities, economic development and financial education. In addition to his work with the bank, Irie was personally committed to serving and supporting organizations and business in Milwaukee including the Milwaukee Urban League, Opportunities Industrialization Center, Social Development Center, Center for Youth Development and the Cream City Medical Professional practices.
Irie was dedicated to his family. He was a protector, supporter and teacher to all his family, especially his children and grandchildren. While he worked hard for others, his most important desire was to ensure his family was happy and secure and he made sure they felt that way always. Whether that be a quick call, a stern talking to or a firm yet compassionate grasp on the back of the neck while taking a walk, Irie was connected and caring and present for his family. Long talks over football with his brother and sister or sitting around the kitchen table talking about life were some of his favorite things.
These and all the other numerous acts of kindness done without fan fare but with love are all the things his family and friends will miss most but cherish the memories always. Irie Dell Grant, born November 12, 1942 in Belzoni, Mississippi, passed away peacefully after a short illness on December 23, 2019. He was preceded in death by his parents Jesse and Rosie Zena Grant. He was a loving, loyal and devoted father, brother and friend. He leaves to mourn his death but cherish the many wonderful memories his loving children Eric Grant Tiffani) and Donna Grant Dorsey; beloved Sister Jerridene Jordan and brother Jesse Grant; dear grandchildren Irie II, Lila, Jayson, Malcolm, Devan (preceded in death), Dale and Isaiah.