Irene was born in Hanna, AB on April 4, 1936 to parents John and Pauline Engel. She was the first of 4 children with sister Ruby and brothers Jim and Don.
She spent her early years on a farm just outside of town, and would tell stories of living without indoor plumbing and electricity. She attended school until grade 10 at which time she took her first job at the local dry cleaners, learning to sew and do alterations from the owner of the shop. Little did she know at the time that this training would turn into a lifelong career of sewing and tailoring, which included mens wear, womens wear and bridal alterations, both planned and on an emergency basis when needed.
The other job that had a lasting impact on her life was at the local “Red and White” where she met her future father-in-law. Glen would frequent the store often and would always say ”Wait until you meet my son”. He was right and after meeting in the spring of 1961, Gerald Motta and Irene were married on August 23, 1961. What seemed like a whirlwind romance at the time, turned out to be nearly 61 years of marriage.
Gerry and Irene moved to Red Deer shortly after and began their lives together, raising Wenona, born in 1968 and waiting many years for their son-in-law Paul McCormick to enter the picture in 1991. Grandsons James and Andrew were born in 2000, and 2001 nearly 40 years after they arrived in the city. In 2007 they followed their family to Provost to be close enough to their grandchildren that they would never miss a holiday or school program or basketball game. In her 15 years here, she was blessed with many new friends.
Irene was happiest when she was busy, and had a nicely organized list. When she wasn’t sewing, she loved working in her yard. She took pride in her flower beds and in having the greenest, best mowed lawn on the block. She returned to school in 1985 to earn her high school diploma and proceeded to get her Business Administration diploma, much to Wenona’s annoyance at the time, as her time at Red Deer College overlapped with Wenona’s first year of post secondary education. Nothing like having your Mom know if you skipped class…..
Over the years she also served on local church council, the head of church call committees, did altar care until the age of 84, and held a position on provincial synod council for 8 years. She was a regular attendee at Sunday morning service, bible study, and one of her final actions in life was to do devotions with Gerry before getting ready for Sunday service she never made it to.
Her faith and her family held her strong through many difficult times, including the last 3 years when arthritis pain became difficult to endure. Still she never wanted to look old and always told us she was NOT going to the Nursing Home. It seems she knew God would take care of her and listen to her wishes on this issue, as she passed away suddenly at home on Mother’s Day.
She is survived by her husband Gerry, daughter Wenona (Paul), grandsons James(Amy) and Andrew. Sister Ruby(Otto)Litke, Brothers Jim and Don Engel,one niece and five nephews and their families.
She was predeceased by her parents, John and Pauline, parents-in-law, Glen and Lillian, infant son Kevin, niece Myrna Litke and sisters-in-law, Donna and Brenda.
A funeral for Irene will be held on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at the Central Lutheran Church in Provost, Alberta with Pastor Paul McCormick officiating. Interment will follow at the Provost Cemetery. For those unable to attend, a live stream of the funeral will be available through the Gregory's Funeral Home website.
Gregory's Funeral Home Inc.