MINERAL WELLS, Texas — With more than 150 bicyclists riding in tribute, cyclist and runner Iris Stagner was given a fitting farewell today less than a mile from the spot where she was struck and killed by a pickup truck Monday evening.
Cyclists from throughout North Texas and beyond gathered this morning in the parking lot of Palo Pinto General Hospital for a memorial ride to a bridge across the Brazos River where Iris was killed and then to Indian Creek Baptist Church for a funeral service.
Iris, 54, was killed instantly shortly after 5:30 p.m. Monday as she was riding her bike west on U.S. 180, about two miles west of Mineral Wells. A pickup struck her from behind on the bridge. U.S. 180 has a wide shoulder heading west out of Mineral Wells, but the highway abruptly narrows and has no shoulder as it crosses the old bridge.
A ghost bike placed by family and friends of Iris Stagner near the bridge where she was killed
Under a large shade tree at the western end of the bridge, Iris’s husband, Butch Stagner, and other members of her family and friends installed a “ghost bike”
in her honor on Tuesday morning. “Ghost bikes,” old bicycles painted all white, are placed at spots where cyclists have been hurt or killed.
The memorial ride was organized by BikeTexas
, an Austin-based bicycling advocacy group. Iris had served on the BikeTexas board and had been instrumental getting the Texas Department of Transportation to place “share the road” signs on highways in North Texas.
Riding in silence and with a police escort, the phalanx of cyclists traveled slowly to the church and lined up in front so that family members and friends could take photographs. The cyclists came from such groups as the Fort Worth Bicycling Association
, the Lockheed Martin Recreation Association Bicycle Club
, the Fort Worth Night Riders, the Manly Bulge Bike Club
, the Richardson Bike Mart
cycling team and many more.
Robin Stallings, BikeTexas executive director, estimated the turnout of cyclists as at least 150, based on the sign-in sheets and a count on the road.
Some of the cyclists who participated in the memorial ride for Iris Stagner. Photo by BikeTexas
Inside the church, the spandex-clad cyclists filled the entire right-hand section of the sanctuary reserved for them.
Daughter Felicia Scott of Weatherford said her mother, who had worked for more than two decades as an administrative assistant for the Palo Pinto County Commissioners’ Court in nearby Palo Pinto, did not take up cycling and running until after she was 40, and then engaged in both sports with a passion.
She recently had been notified that she had qualified for the 2013 Boston Marathon on April 15.
In eulogies, Iris was described as a “go-getter,” and “over-achiever,” “a Tasmanian devil of passion and energy.”
If she rode her bike, she rode it fast, said the Rev. Guy Weathers, who officiated at the funeral service. If she invited you to dinner, there would not be just one dessert, he said, but three.
Recalling Iris’s achievements as a runner, Weathers cited 1 Corinthians 9:24, in which the apostle Paul compared life to a race: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
In life, as in a marathon, Weathers said, Iris had run the race to win the prize.