Irene Edmund died peacefully in her sleep on April 14, 2021 at Quail Park Assisted Living, Gilbert, AZ. She was born April 28, 1930, the daughter of Mary and Louis Deters of Quincy, IL. She graduated with honors from Villa de Chantal High School in Rock Island, IL and furthered her studies in Chicago at the Latin-American Institute.
Irene liked city life, moving first to Milwaukee and then New York City. That’s where she was courted by Ben Edmund, a farmer she met back in Illinois before he joined the Army and was stationed in nearby New Jersey.
A child of divorce, Irene vowed to never get too attached … until Ben. When he shipped out to Korea, their friendship and love grew through hours of handwritten letters. On first word of his return, Irene packed up to get back to the Midwest before anyone had a chance to catch Ben’s eye.
They were married in 1953 and then began the serious business of farming and raising a family in Cambridge, IL. They helped build St. John Vianney Catholic church as well as Valley View Country Club where Irene loved to play golf and camp. She kept a close eye on all the campground children and earned the title “Mean Irene.” Her children and grandchildren affectionately called her that the rest of her life.
Ben was killed in a tragic farming accident in 1976. In less than a month’s time, Irene had become a grandmother and a widow at 45. After getting her youngest off to college, she became a successful sales representative for a farm implement company. She later landed a position with the Rock Island Arsenal writing defense contracts.
Never a fan of Illinois winters, she retired to Sun Lakes, AZ where the sun shines almost every day. Irene joined an RV group and drove her motorhome about the Southwest. She loved her travels with family and friends to Australia, South America, China and on many cruises, never wanting to do Alaska because it’s just too cold. Besides her love of golf, she played a mean hand of bridge and enjoyed cards and good company with her Arizona friends.
Irene is survived by a sister Phyllis Neville of Bettendorf, IA; half-sisters Jane Heisner and Wendy Beffel; four children: Randy (Spike) Edmund, Cambridge, IL, Terri White, Bradenton, FL, Laurie Peak (Pat),Winchester, IL, and Ben Edmund Jr. (Sara) of Gilbert, AZ; eight grandchildren: Lance Edmund (Lexi), Jaime Tero (Mark), Kristen Olin (Chad), Nicole Dorsey (Chris), Nathan Peak (Megan), Paige Fraizer (Dave), Cole Edmund and Jessica Sickels; and eleven great grandchildren: Livy and Lawson Edmund; Bronson, Case, Remi and Audri Dorsey; Emelia and Catherine Fraizer; Walker and Landyn Peak, and Anders Olin and future Baby Olin #2.
Besides her true love Ben, she was preceded in death by her parents, a brother and two sisters.
Remains will be cremated in Arizona, and the family is planning a Celebration of Life in Cambridge, IL on July 31, 2021.
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