The family moved to Spokane when she was a sophomore in high school.
After graduating from Lewis & Clark High School she attended Washington State College and then Providence Nursing School.
During those years, she met her greatest love in life, Roger Stephens and they were married in 1940.
Roger passed away in 1999, a month short of their 59th anniversary.
While Irene lived a life of volunteering and service for others, her first mission always was to provide a loving home for Roger and their children, Jim and Judi.
While Roger was serving in the Navy during WWII, she worked as a nurse/receptionist for a family doctor and managed a small apartment building.
She volunteered for many years at St. Ann’s Infant Home, where she cared for babies waiting for adoption.
For many years she volunteered at the Spokane Rehabilitation Center, later serving on their board.
She was an active member of the Saint Francis of Assisi Mother’s Club, a Cub Scout den mom and a Camp Fire leader.
From the mid 1960’s until present, Irene was an active member of the Jane Jefferson Democratic Women’s Club, holding many offices.
Later in life she became the caregiver for her mom, Ella Grace Kelly and finally for her husband Rog.
Irene is survived by her son, Jim (Phyllis) Stephens; daughter, Judi (Andy) Schweda; grandchildren: Dr. Michael (Misty), John (Andria), Bill (Jackie), Tom (Karin) Stephens, Heidi (Vic) Teal, Karin (Charlie) Mellick and her 19 great-grandchildren.
Irene kept Hallmark in business by never allowing a birthday or special occasion to go by without remembering each and every one of her family of 34 with a greeting card.
She will go down in the family annals for her delicious macaroni salad, egg salad sandwiches and “goushy” spaghetti.
Although the ravages of arthritis zapped her body, she never lost her sense of humor, her dignity or her ability to care for others.
She was a beautiful woman in body and spirit.
Please put in a good word for us, mom.
A Funeral Mass will be held at10 am on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at Sacred Heart Parish; 219 E. Rockwood, Spokane, WA.
A reception will held immediately following Mass in the Parish Hall.
Please visit Irene’s online memorial at www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com, and leave a message of condolence.
Arrangements have been entrusted to: