Remembering Grandma Iney

Nineteen years ago I asked one of Ilene Royalty’s granddaughters to the homecoming dance.  I married Jenny and few years later and received the gift of “Iney” becoming my grandma too.  Last week, she passed from this life to the next after 91 incredible years.  Nothing I write could be complete…or enough, but everyone deserves at least a small window into her life…

Her Community: Iney fell in love with Tom Royalty and moved to Clayton, Illinois, becoming central to the fabric of this community.  They owned and operated “Royalty Dry Goods” in town for 40+ years, helped his brother start a similar store in a neighboring town and also had a 4-lane bowling alley. Grandma Iney was always – always! – fixing extra plates of food from her meals to run across the street to the family in need or uptown to the elderly woman who couldn’t get out on her own.


Holding Jack for the 1st time with soulmate Helen Kim


Her Cooking: It was legendary.  Four months ago (at age 91) she was still fixing dinner every Sunday for any family that was in town.  This after having everyone over for coffee and cookies every Saturday morning.  Iney would bake (no exaggeration) 90 cookies every week…meaning she has baked about 100,000 cookies…since age 70!  Jack sat down and drew some pictures about her when we learned she was going to pass.  My favorite was a rainbow he drew, but instead of a pot of gold at the end, there was a pot of Grandma Iney’s noodles.  He LOVED them.  We all did.

Her Faith: I get to see faith come in lots of packages and personalities.  I like Grandma’s best.  It wasn’t Flashy…not pushy or demanding or judgmental.  And it wasn’t Fake…she handled her death like she handled everything else…with grace and confidence.  I found these scriptures written down in the front cover of her Bible.  I think they say a lot about her faith…

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes… -Romans 1:16

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible…And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. -Hebrews 11:3,6

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. -1 John 5:5


Christmas...Iney with her three daughters


Her Family…She and Tom kept their vows to his death 10 years ago.  They had five children of their own and when a new young minister came to their Presbyterian Church in the 1960’s…straight from Korea with no family here and a culture gap…the Kim family was fully adopted as part of the Royalty clan.  So there were dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Nothing generated more joy for her…and for us.  It was all-family, all the time.

I got to sit down with Grandma on Labor Day weekend for what turned out to be our final conversation.  She said something to me that I found both inspiring (because she was a living example of it) and convicting (because I am not).  Here it is:  If you are going to be a good family person, you are going to have to overlook a lot of faults.

When you stop and think about it, that is huge: Not being judgmental toward the faults of others; Not ignoring faults either.  Just decide…choose…to look past them and accept people/family for who they are.  Warts and all.

So I wasn’t surprised when I found these scriptures in the front cover of her Bible either…

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. -Romans 14:19

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? -James 4:1

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it…There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? -James 4:11-12

There is more, but to me that is the essence of Grandma Iney.  We will miss her…and we will see her again.


Christmas 2008 with Grandma in the Center


~ by Greg Lee on October 14, 2010.

3 Responses to “Remembering Grandma Iney”

  1. I was hoping I’d get to see these words in pring somewhere

  2. Thank you for sharing. She sounds amazing! I’m sure you had many amazing conversations with her. Love the most recent September one.

  3. She sounds like a gift from God. I’m going to keep her advice in the back of my mind because it’s very true and very real.

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