Posted: November 20, 2008, 2:15 p.m. EST
Linda Iroff, co-director and treasurer of the International Ferret Congress, is retiring from the IFC at the end of this year. What is Iroff really like? Fellow IFC member Marsha Crowell first met Iroff in Toronto in 2000. “She was happy, upbeat and so welcoming,” Crowell said. “I have attended every symposia since then, and Linda is always the first one I see with a warm welcome and a big hug.”
IFC member Ann Hehl didn’t meet Iroff until 2003 in Atlanta, and her impression is similar. “I find her a warm, fun person to be around, though I first took her to be a quiet person; she isn't when you get to know her.”
One fun memory of Iroff is a favorite of several IFC members. Francine Prager, Sharon Bearden, Bill Gruber, Crowell and Hehl all cite Iroff’s portrayal of a deaf ferret at the 2003 Atlanta symposium as a favorite. It all happened because Rebecca Stout was giving a talk about how to deal with deaf ferrets and called on Iroff to help demonstrate. “She dooked around digging in a potted plant and sniffing corners, and to this day she is still known far and wide as Lindaferret,” Gruber said.
But Iroff’s surprising sense of humor isn’t the only quality that fellow IFC members admire.
“Working with Linda was a pleasure, and I will miss it,” Bearden said. “She was a true professional at her job. I believe the IFC has accomplished some great things for ferrets thanks to Linda, as she was there at the beginning and helped make the IFC what it is today.”
Prager said Iroff is extremely intelligent and her input will be missed. Gruber praised her principles. “Even with many things going on in her life she tried to find time to listen and lead, and thus things got done,” he said.
Brenda Johnson, also of the IFC, noted Iroff’s focus on ferret welfare. “She has a heart as big as the moon when it comes to ferrets and the things it takes to keep them happy, safe and in good health.”
With Iroff’s retirement nearing, committee members look ahead. “It will be difficult to replace her energy and dedication,” Gruber said. “We've yet to decide on who is even capable of replacing her.” Several committee members agree that the IFC won’t be the same without Iroff. “Her shoes are large ones to fill,” Hehl said, “and I hope that we are successful in filling them.”