SHELTON—Irene Ann Shelton passed away at her home in Florence, Ore., on April 9, 2022, at the age of 97. She was blessed with a loving family and several of her family members were with her prior to her passing.
She was born Irene Kroupa on Feb. 6, 1925, in Chamberlain, S.D., and grew up on a farm near Kimball, S.D., where she attended a one-room schoolhouse.
Irene grew up with the challenges of the Dust Bowl, making ends meet during the Depression and the hazards of life on the farm, all shaping her remarkable work ethic and thriftiness.
She graduated from White Lake High School in 1943 and was recruited to support the World War II effort first at Hanford in Washington and then at Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in San Diego, Calif. She received the “Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal” in April 2022 in recognition of her service during the war.
Irene met Navy Boatswain Mate First Class Clarence Shelton in San Diego and the couple were married in West Virginia in 1946. In 1952, Irene, Clarence and their children (Richard, Judy and Diana) moved to Florence, Ore., as Clarence was hired by US Plywood in Mapleton. The family later grew to six with the birth of Sandra.
Irene served as a devoted wife to Clarence and a caring mother and homemaker raising a wonderful family. She volunteered as a member of Florence Christian Church, helped at polling locations during elections, and helped organize a “cookie brigade” to support the young men, including Richard, who were serving during the Vietnam War.
She was a talented artist, a remarkable cook and an avid gardener with a beautiful landscape of flowering plants which she attended to until recently. Irene’s home of 70 years is considered home to many of her immediate and extended family members.
Irene and Clarence were married for 69 years at the time of Clarence’s death in 2005.
She was preceded in death by husband Clarence, brother Roy Henrickson, brothers Frank and Ralph Kroupa, sister Florence Hawn and sister Vera (Hill) Zen. She is survived by her son Richard and wife Janet, her daughter Judy and husband Ron Adams, daughters Diana Goldberg and Sandra Shelton, 11 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, please provide donations to Friends of Florence, P.O. Box 598, Florence, OR 97439, [email protected].