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Obituary: Carter, Irene (Etter)

Age 94


Irene Carter died May 28, 2012. She was born Mildred Irene Etter on July 7, 1917. She grew up with her parents, Georgia and Lon Etter on a wheat ranch near Pilot Rock, Oregon. She attended a one-room elementary school with her sister, Barbara Etter Rugg, and brothers Bill and Jack. Irene was active in 4-H sewing, cooking and livestock clubs as well as helping on her parents’ farm. She worked her way through Oregon State College (University) majoring in home economics and was active in campus activities. She was president of the Associated Women Students, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, Mortar Board and was junior prom queen. Following graduation in 1938, she taught home economics at Pendleton High School for one year and then married Milton Joseph Carter in 1939. The two had known each other since age 14. Joe passed away in November 2004. Irene and Joe’s early years were spent in Vancouver and then Bellingham, Washington, where daughter Susan Carter VanLeuven was born. The family was then stationed at Fort Lawton throughout World War II where son Milton Joseph Carter, Jr. was born. At the war’s end they moved to Spokane, Washington. In 1949 they returned to farming in Pendleton, Oregon, where daughter Sally Ann Carter Buckbee was born. In 1956 the family moved back to Spokane where their daughter Jean Elizabeth Carter was born. Irene was a talented seamstress and made many beautiful outfits for her children and grandchildren. She always had a project at hand and was expert at knitting, quilting and cross-stitch. She enjoyed teaching these skills to others. For many years she judged handiwork and quilting at the Spokane Interstate Fair. She was also known for her handcrafted Christmas cards that she made every year until she turned 90. Irene was a committed volunteer. She served 30 years as a Deaconess Hospital Auxiliary volunteer and worked with the Wilson and Lewis & Clark PTAs, Manito Presbyterian Church, Whitworth Auxiliary and the P.E.O. sisterhood. In 1988 Irene and Joe moved to Rockwood Estates and then to Rockwood Manor where Irene continued to volunteer in many ways. Irene took great pride in her children’s and grand-children’s accomplishments. The focal point of intergenerational family fun was the Loon Lake cabin that Irene and Joe built over several years. Irene was loved for her welcoming friendliness, community service, and positive outlook on life. In addition to her children, she was loved by her extended family including daughter-in-law Theresa Carter, granddaughter-in-law Margaretta VanLeuven, and sons-in-law Jim VanLeuven, Steve Buckbee and Jerry Sparrow. She and Joe had seven grandchildren: the late Tom and Kate Van Leuven, Shannon and Kim Carter, David and Stefanie Buckbee, Emma Sparrow and two great-grandchildren, Susannah and Johnny VanLeuven. Memorial contributions may be made to the Rockwood Resident’s Foundation, 2903 E. 25th Ave., Spokane, WA 99223 or the Oregon State University Foundation naming the Kate VanLeuven CSSA Award, 850 SW 35th St., Corvallis, OR 97333. Memorial service will be Sunday, July 15, at 1:00pm at The Ridge at Rockwood South Hill, in the Main Lounge, 2903 E. 25th Ave., Spokane, WA.


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