Irene Theresa Baker (nee Keegan), 95, of Burnaby, B.C. passed away on Sunday December 13th, 2020. She suffered for several years with Alzheimer’s, but in the end and with very little warning, it was Covid 19 that took her from us.
Irene was born November 21, 1925, to William and Mary Keegan in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. She grew up with 9 brothers and sisters in a spirited Irish Catholic family.
After graduating from high school at the age of 17, Irene left Moose Jaw in search of adventure and opportunity in Vancouver.
There, she lived on Davie Street and took a job at the Vancouver airport weather office. A while later, her mother and twin sisters, Mondy and Rosaline travelled to the coast and the three Keegan girls moved into their mother’s rooming house on West 10th.
In her early 20s, Irene was reacquainted with her brother Bill’s childhood best friend, John Baker. The handsome, gregarious Irishman had also settled on the coast after serving in the Royal Canadian Navy.
John and Irene fell in love and were married in the summer of 1949.
It was a strong and productive, 64-year marriage blessed with 10 children; survived by Kathi (Glenn), Gary, Ken (Janine), Jan (Ron), Betsy (Charles), Lynn (Wayne), Ed (Shannon), Mark (Rhonda), Ross (Kari).
The close-knit, boisterous Baker family of 12 spent 42 years in their home on East 48th in Vancouver, one block away from Corpus Christi Church where John and Irene were active parishioners and where their children attended school. When their kids were able to take care of themselves, John and Irene ditched their tent trailer to enjoy many happy vacations with friends and family.
Irene was Mom to 10 kids, Nana to her 19 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
And she was Reenie to John, who passed away peacefully by her side in 2013.
Irene is also preceded in death by her daughter, Lori (Gavin) who died of breast cancer in 1997.
Irene leaves behind sisters, Mondy and Marlene, many, many nieces and nephews and countless friends.
She’ll be remembered for her dazzling smile and mesmerizing hazel green eyes, her love of puzzles and word games and her skillful way with a needle and thread. When Irene wasn’t kicking butt on the Scrabble board, she’d be in her happy place; her totally decked out sewing room.
Irene was a smart, fun loving, independent, kind hearted, incredible woman who always put family first. Even in the deep darkness of Alzheimer’s, her face would light up when she held a great-grandchild.
She was especially proud of the tight bond her children shared…every one choosing to build their lives close to home, not bound by obligation…but for fear of missing out on a legendary Baker party.
While we weren’t able to hold her hand or kiss her cheek goodbye due to Covid restrictions in her care home, we take comfort knowing that the compassionate and courageous front-line warriors at Harmony Court were by her side when Irene exhausted her Scrabble tiles with a triple word zinger and left us for a better place.
She will be greatly missed.
A funeral service will be held at 10am on Friday, January 8th, 2021 at Corpus Christi Church. Due to Covid restrictions, only her children will be in attendance but a live stream of the service will be available for anyone who’d like to attend virtually. www.legacystreaming.com/kearney/
In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. alzheimer.ca/bc/en/take-action/donate/donate-memory-honour
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Irene Theresa Baker November 21 1925 December 13 2020..
Décès pour la Ville: Vancouver, Province: Colombie britanique