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Official Obituary of

Irene Smith

August 8, 1938 ~ March 24, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old

Irene Smith Obituary


It is with deepest sorrow and sadness, we say goodbye to Irene Martha Isabel Smith (nee Barker) who passed away peacefully on March 24, 2024. Irene was born August 8, 1938, on “Barker Ridge” near Alonsa, Manitoba to parents Fred William Barker and Elva Mearl Desjardine, joining brother Bob and sister Eleanor.

A lively and energetic child, Irene enjoyed life on the farm especially the horses, Doc and Nellie, and Tommy, the barn cat. The home was joyous again when younger brother Garry arrived, soon followed by sister Helen. Irene entertained her younger siblings by playing the harmonica, which they seemed to enjoy, she said, whether she was in tune or not.

Irene had a close relationship with her Grandmother Eleanor who lived with the family. From her, Irene retained and retold stories of ancestors in Ireland and her grandmother’s occasional ghost story.

Irene attended Mellonville school where field days were a happy outing for their family. At the age of fifteen, Irene left home to work for widowed Mrs. Weisbrot on a farm near Glenella, where she dealt with the farm chores and managed the household duties for the elderly woman. Always up to the challenge, hard work never daunted her. Here, Irene earned her independence and showed her dependability and work ethic, managing all required of her and more.

Two years later, Irene relocated to Winnipeg and worked at the Devon Café, a restaurant owned by brothers Charlie and Harry Wong. She enjoyed chatting with her regular customers and years later fondly re-counted the funny antics of the years she spent there.

Irene travelled regularly back to Alonsa to visit her family and spent weekends dancing at the “Plywood Palace” with friends and her many cousins who remained in her heart as part of her large extended family.

In 1963, Irene married Basil Smith. They welcomed son Tim in 1966, and daughter Tracey in 1969. In 1971, the family moved from Winnipeg to the Alonsa farm near Irene’s parents. Here Irene and Basil farmed, while Basil still worked in Winnipeg as a Glazier. They built a home and raised their children- enjoying barbeques and Christmas gatherings with friends and family, hot days in the haying fields and summer evenings watching the fireflies.

Irene’s love of the outdoors and animals endured as she tended to cattle, sheep, chickens, and ducks, among others. She enjoyed gardening and grew plums and apples for canning and making pies.

After retirement, Irene and Basil moved to McCreary for a slower pace, but still had the fruit trees and Irene still needed her big vegetable and flower gardens.

Irene loved her grandchildren, teaching them to play baseball – the game she enjoyed as a child. They made perogies together in her kitchen and played “go fish” at the dining room table. Attending piano and drum recitals, she was always a proud and supportive grandmother. Irene and Basil were married for 52 years.

Mom was generous and kind-hearted. A caring friend and neighbor, a loving daughter, sister, mother, and grandmother - she loved her family and treated all those she encountered with respect.

Irene is predeceased by husband Basil, parents Fred and Mearl, sister Eleanor, brothers Bob and Garry, sisters in law Beverly, Betty, Denise and Sylvia, brothers in law Reginald, Barry and Frank, mother-in-law Emily Palchak.

Irene leaves to mourn her passing and cherish fond memories; her son Tim (Sherry) Nick and Brendan, daughter Tracey (Brian) grandchildren Connor and Lucas, sister Helen Abstreiter, nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends.

The family would like to thank everyone for their kind words and expressions of sympathy.

Cremation has taken place and a funeral service for Irene will be held at a future date.  Details of the service will be announced once they are confirmed 

Should friends so desire, please consider remembering Irene with a donation to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Manitoba or to the Parkland Humane Society.  

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Irene Smith, please visit our floral store.

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