Obituary of Iris Torres

May 8, 2023

Iris Belia Torres Rodriguez was born in Cataño, Puerto Rico to Francisco Torres and Ernestina Rodriguez. She had two sisters, Minerva, eldest, and Sonia, youngest, and one brother, Francisco. At the age of 5, she moved with her family to the United States. Due to domestic complications, she and her sisters were then placed in a Catholic orphanage in Tottenville, Staten Island, New York, where they stayed until she was 12. She described the living conditions there as tough love.

After leaving the orphanage, Belia lived with various family members until she finally settled in the Lower East Side of NYC with her mother, Ernestina. It was there that she met the father of her two eldest children, Judy and Jerónimo. During her 20’s she lived in El Barrio, Spanish Harlem, NYC, in the Johnson Housing Projects. She described the living situation as dangerous but convenient and made lifelong friends there.

Later, Belia moved to the La Guardia Houses in the Lower East Side for better living conditions, where she lived for the remainder of her life. She frequently visited her old neighborhood in El Barrio and met the father of her youngest son, Pedro, during one of those visits.

While single-handedly raising her children, she attended Touro College and received her Degree in Business and Accounting.  She was determined to show her children the importance of working hard and obtaining an education at any age.  Working her way within the department, she retired as Procurement Director of the Department of Investigation.

Belia was known by many names, including Mommy, Titi Belia, Momma, Grandma, Iris, and Belia by family and friends. She was a true Renaissance woman, known for her famous Puerto Rican dishes such as pernil, pasteles, and arroz con gandules, as well as a talented artisan of beautiful hand-made paintings, jewelry, crochet, and was an outstanding clothier/couturier and seamstress.

Iris is survived by her three children, Judy, Jerónimo, and Pedro.  Her five Grandchildren, Stephanie, Christopher, Benny, Eliana, and Naveen.  Her two great-grandchildren, Madison & Davina.


Funeral Services


May 19, 2023

2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Greenwich Village Funeral Home

199 Bleecker Street

New York, NY 10012

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Funeral Mass

May 20, 2023

10:00 AM

St. Teresa's Church

141 Henry St

New York, NY 10002

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May 20, 2023

St. Peter's Cemetery

52 Tyler Ave

Staten Island, NY 10310

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Im so sorry to see you go! I know God has the best wings for you in heaven. Thank you for always treating me like one of your family. You were always so good to me and gave me good advice. I love you and miss you! God bless. Just know I tried my best after our talk.

Posted by: Ronald Wright - Prince George , Va - Family May 19, 2023
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