Irene Bartlett, 91, passed away on February 19, 2006, with two of her children at her side and a good friend saying a prayer to ease her on her way. Her husband and daughter were waiting to greet her on the other side.
Irene was born July 1, 1914, in Atkinson, Nebraska. She was Head Girl of her graduating class in Boulder, Colorado, where she also played the violin and piano and accompanied the Boy’s Glee Club. She joined her life with Fred Bartlett’s the day at Glee Club practice that he pulled her onto his lap and wouldn’t let her up until she accepted his class pin. They were married for fifty-five years and their devotion to each other endures to this day.
A terrific wife and mother, Irene was a full-time homemaker until her youngest child was in high school. She supported her children in all their activities, including serving as a Girl Scout Leader. Later, she worked at the Girl Scout office and ultimately received her 50-year pin as a member of the Girl Scout organization. She enjoyed monthly lunches with the Girl Scout “lunch bunch” until the end of her life. She was an accomplished bird watcher and loved the time she spent birding with family and friends. For more than fifty years, she played bridge with the same club and, with her current club, played her last bridge game just three weeks before her death.
After retirement, Irene and Fred delivered Meals on Wheels for several years. An avid reader, she participated in the Rose Park School Reading Program and enjoyed helping the kids with their reading.
Irene helped found and was a charter member of Grace United Methodist Church. She sang in the church choir for more than fifty years and served the church in many other capacities. Grace Church was central to her life and sustained her in good times and in difficult times.
She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, her husband in 1992, and her daughter Peg in 2005. She is survived by her son Donn Bartlett of Billings, daughter and son-in-law Sue Bartlett and Gene Fenderson of Helena, granddaughters and their husbands Becky and Eric Bey of Billings and Amy Rosenleaf and DJ Ankney of Seattle, granddaughter and grandson Debera Bartlett and Roger Bartlett and their mother, Nancy Bartlett, all of Los Angeles.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, February 24, at Grace United Methodist Church, 1935 Avenue B, Billings, with a reception to follow at the church. Interment will occur at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the music program of Grace United Methodist Church or to the Girl Scouts, Treasure Trails Council, P. O. Box 30595, Billings MT 59107-0595. Michelotti-Sawyers is in charge of arrangements.
As a friend recently said of Irene, “She is just full of love. I feel it every time I’m around her.” And we are full of love for you, our mother, grandmother, and friend.