Irene was born in Red Springs in a log house. She is most proud of all of her boys serving in the military. She has two girls and three boys left (she lost her oldest son in Vietnam). Irene seems to be a very humble person who is very proud of the accomplishments she has made in life and is very proud of her family.
Irene has a great work ethic and she spoke about work to her children when she told them, "There is always work you can do, just get a job, do not worry about the pay, it will keep food on the table."
Irene graduated from Haskell. She had a scholarship to go to college but the war was on so she had to go to work in the war factory.
She worked at True Manufacturing in Gresham where her brother helped move her to work there. She moved to Milwaukee for a time, where she worked at Nesco, making bullets. She moved to Texas when a friend told her there was a lot of work down there.
She told a story about one of the jobs she had in Texas. "At this other company the boss used to get angry easily and end up hollering and swearing at the employees. I felt like quitting because it bothered me. At a seminar I went to, the speaker told me to look at my boss when he started swearing and hollering and think, "peace, love, and joy." Well the boss got around to looking at me while he was hollering and I started thinking "peace, love, and joy." All of a sudden, he stopped hollering. He stood there for a moment, not saying a word at all, and then went back into his office."
Irene went on with, "After a little while the boss called me into his office and I thought, ‘oh no, I am going to get it now.’ He asked me what I did and I knew I was in trouble then. I told him ‘if you really want to know what I was doing I will tell you. I was praying for you.’ ‘Praying for me,’ he hollered, ‘why were you praying for me?’ I told him that I did not like the way he was hollering and swearing at people and that he did not have to do that to get his message across."
He could not get over it, he kept asking why would you pray for me. I told him because I want you to calm down. He asked me is that all you did. And I said yes, why. He said, "I thought you put a hex on me."
He worked the rest of that week and came over to my place on Saturday. He gave me the keys to the plant and told me to keep things going while he went to California. He came back in two weeks and never hollered at the employees again.
She used to sew for people, from square dance outfits to dresses for a congressman’s wife. She also did calligraphy (the work I saw was so perfect I thought a machine did it) and taught Sunday school for 30 years from the day care room to the highest grades.
She was looking for a retirement place and that is how she happened to find the Elderly Center. This must be a big change for her coming from a retirement community that consisted of 2,400 people in Missouri to one that has about 24 people here in our Community.