Born in Spokane on Nov. 5, 1918, Alice grew up on a White Bluff Prairie farm, North of what is now Airway Heights.
Her life started hard.
When she was six years old, her mother Augusta was stricken with tuberculosis.
They traveled to Oakland so her mother could get treated; her two grown sisters, Anne and Gene, lived there, too.
Just 24 days later, Augusta died, and little Alice was stranded until her family could make arrangements for her to return to Spokane.
Once home, Alice’s father Peter kept farming while her sister Ella raised her and her sister, Pearl.
Ella was 14 years old at the time.
An older brother, Louie, worked in town.
Their home was so humble, the wind came through the wallboards in the winter, and the girls slept under their coats.
Trains passing on the Great Northern line would spark fires in the summer, and the girls would rush out with gunny sacks to keep the flames from their home.
Alice attended the Great Northern School, and she finished two years at Lewis and Clark High School.
By 18, she was a waitress at the Silver Inn on Second and Stevens.
A young man who worked in the neighborhood made his feelings for her known by leaving big tips after his coffee breaks.
Their first proper date was to a movie at the Fox Theater.
Nineteen months later, on June 26, 1937, Alice was married to Joseph Peirone, a union that lasted more than 50 years.
In Catherine Peirone, Joe’s mother, Alice regained the mother she lost; her father-in-law, Dominic, set them up in a home on Route 4 (now Lawton Road) in Garden Springs, where they lived their entire married life.
With Alice’s support, Joe built his company, Peirone Produce, which continues in business today.
They raised two children, Alice Jeanne born in 1942, and James Paul in 1944.
As their business prospered and their family grew, Alice and Joe enjoyed summer weekends at their Lake Coeur d’Alene cabin; at home they worked in their orchard and greenhouse - they especially loved raising geraniums to fill their flowerbeds.
Joe sold Peirone Produce to URM in 1986; he died in 1992.
A year after that, Alice funded the start-up of The Inlander Newspaper.
In her two decades without Joe, Alice enjoyed watching her family grow, welcoming nine great-grandchildren.
And she got to spend a lot of time with her dear sisters, Ella and Pearl.
Alice loved the Seattle Mariners, and was a tireless letter writer to her grandkids living in other cities.
Every Christmas, she recalled her own hard times as she hand-wrote a stack of checks to local charities; her favorites included the Poor Clare Sisters, the Tshimakain Creek Camp and the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.
Alice is survived by her sister Pearl Heiller, 96, and her children, Jeanne (and her husband Ted) McGregor of Spokane, and Jim (and his wife Jackie) Peirone of Priest Lake.
She is also survived by six grandchildren: Ted (Anne) McGregor Jr. of Spokane; Piper (Jon) Thornburgh of Bainbridge Island; Jeremy (Tamara) McGregor of Spokane; Nathan McGregor of Portland; Ashlie (Evan) Bornzin of Seattle; and Paula (Rex) Hartley of Spokane.
The Rosary will be held at Hennessey Funeral Home at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7:00 p.m. and the funeral service will be held at 10 am on Friday, Feb. 8, at Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral.
You can send donations in memory of Alice Peirone to Catholic Charities of Spokane.
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