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Lamb Funeral Home Inc.

101 Byberry Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA

OBITUARY

Irma M. Kaffenberger

October 5, 1921May 15, 2019
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Irma M. Kaffenberger, age 97, resident of The Fountains at Cedar Parke in Atco, New Jersey passed away May 15, 2019. She was born in Philadelphia, she was the daughter of the late William and Kathryn Spears.

Over her 97 years she lived in West Oak Lane, Oreland, Abington, Lansdale and New Jersey. She worked at the School for the Deaf, was a full time mother to 3 wonderful sons, was a caretaker for a number of elderly family members, volunteered at the Library and Abington Hospital. She enjoyed tennis, bridge and especially antiquing. She was known to many as a classy, elegant lady.

She was preceded in death by her husband Thomas of 60 years and her eldest son Thomas by 7 years. Irma is survived by two sons, Alan (Ann Marie Fahringer), Roy (Victoria) and daughter-in-law Rosemary, 7 grandchildren, Christopher, Lauren, Paul, Lisa, Thomas, Peter and Emily and 8 great grandchildren, Jason, Alanna, Lucy, Sydney, Zachary, Jackson, Ana and Adam.

Relatives and friends are invited to call on Monday, May 20, 2019 from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the Lamb Funeral Home, 101 Byberry Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006. Her funeral service will be held at 12:30 PM. Irma’s interment will follow in Forest Hills Cemetery in Huntingdon Valley, PA.

  • FAMILY

  • Kathryn Spears, Mother (deceased)
  • William Spears, Father (deceased)
  • Thomas Kaffenberger, Husband
  • Thomas Kaffenberger, Son (deceased)
  • Alan Kaffenberger, Son
  • Roy Kaffenberger, Son
  • Rosemary Kaffenberger, Daughter-in-law
  • Victoria Kaffenberger, Daughter-in-law
  • Ann Marie Fahringer, Daughter-in-law
  • She is also survived by her 7 grandchildren Christopher, Lauren, Paul, Lisa, Thomas, Peter and Emily and 8 great grandchildren, Jason, Alanna, Lucy, Sydney, Zachary, Jackson, Ana and Adam.

Services

  • Visitation Monday, May 20, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, May 20, 2019

Memories

Irma M. Kaffenberger

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Jim Kremmel

May 20, 2019

I have been so lucky to have known her

Emily Kaffenberger

May 20, 2019

Ron Russell

May 18, 2019

When I think of Irma, I will think of the worlds best cheesecake (truly, and thank you for that), perfectly pressure cooked green beans and impeccable style. You raised the finest man I have ever known; the incomparable Tom Kaffenberger. The Kaffenberger family has shown me generosity and caring that has pulled me through very difficult times. I can’t properly put it into words. All I can say is thank you, and you will be in my heart always.

Lisa Star

May 18, 2019

Part 1

Irma Kaffenberger was, like all of us, a complex and unique individual. She was real and flawed but at her core Irma was a good person. She was funny without realizing it, was endlessly proud of her three sons, Tom, Alan, and Roy, she was kind and caring, and most memorably there are few people who doled out over-the-top and original compliments as often as Irma. (When she first met my niece Sydney when Syd was eight she gasped and said, "You have thee most beautiful eyebrows!" More recently she looked at a photo of my mother from the 90s and exclaimed, "Rose, you look like a movie star!") No one got away from Irma without a compliment and a huge ego boost. 

She absolutely adored children - especially those with red hair and was extremely lucky to have Lauren, Emily, and Peter as grandchildren. Oh and she made it known to one and all her disappointment when Emily had the audacity to dye her hair black as a teenager. 

Irma was accepting and open minded - a quality that is usually quite atypical of her peers - she grew with the times. She had a wonderful ear for music and I was particularly delighted when she fell in love with the Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop's version of "We Have All the Time in The World". Few people in their 90s were as cool as Irma.

Irma's interests were vast but I most remember her love and appreciation of films such as "Gone with the Wind" (her first movie date in 1939 with future husband, Tom), "The Firm", "Midnight Run", "Now, Voyager", "Three Days of the Condor", "Shall We Dance", "The Catered Affair", and "Mad Love". Along with her interest in films came an admiration for current Hollywood's male leads, her favorites being Skeet Ulrich, Chris O'Donnell, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, and Benicio del Toro.

Lisa Star

May 18, 2019

Part 2

Aside from music and movies, Irma, in the early years of my life with her, played tennis and bridge, as well as enjoyed traveling to places such as California, England, Italy, and Jamaica. She had a keen eye for antiques and no matter where she lived, her homes reflected her gift for interior design. Irma also had a fabulous fashion sense and dressed impeccably from head to heels well into her 90s. As my friend Michael said of her effortless elegance after meeting her for the first time, "My God, she's like a Kennedy!" 

Irma's photography skills were legendary in our family, often taking snapshots of people with their heads mostly out of frame, random tables at fancy restaurants, or everyone's favourite - shots of just body parts, like Baby Christopher's chubby knees. Just his knees. Equally charming were her comments in photo albums beside the pictures. The ones that stand out for me are of her son, Roy, in the 1980s decked out in a tux. Beside it said: "Best Man - gorgeous!", then the little wallet size photo of Irma and her sister Merc in Center City clutching several packages, that read "1944 - Wartime but still shopping". Another was a series of several photos of the store bought "Welcome Home Alan" sign that hung on the house on Beverly Road. Why she felt the need to take so many photos of the sign, rather than pictures of Alan (just back from Vietnam) with his friends and family perplexed me. I asked her about the series of pictures of just the banner and she said, "Oh yes! That sign cost ten dollars." Sometimes Irma's not making sense was the funniest thing about her. However, she redeemed herself by then gushing at how sweet Alan was to go into town and have professional photos taken of him in his Green Beret uniform. The photo was always proudly displayed in all of her homes.

Lisa Star

May 18, 2019

Part 3

Irma did not have a terrific childhood. I remember her talking about her mother-in-law, and how fond she was of her because Esther was the sort of mother that Irma had always wanted. Irma's admiration and loyalty to Esther was never clearer for me than the time I spent an afternoon with her and my grandfather when I was about 15. We had ordered pizza and Nana said, "You know, my mother in law made such good pizza." Grandpop swatted her comment aside and said "Ehhh, her pizza wasn't that great. You exaggerate about her cooking." Mildly enraged and completely affronted she shouted, "Your mother could make B.M. taste good!" Gross.

Irma also gave solid life advice, like the time when she went to pick up Lauren from grade school and saw her kneeling in front of friends, one of whom was a male classmate. Once inside the car, Nana chastised her, saying, "Never kneel in front of someone unless they're a statue!"

Irma was an integral part of my extended family, my mother's side of the family as well as my parents' friends and their children. One of my favourite Nana moments was when my best friend, Amy Rowe, graduated from the University of Richmond. Irma mailed Amy a card congratulating her on her achievement and enclosed a five dollar bill. 

Living in New Jersey in her later years allowed Irma to see a lot of her youngest great grandchildren, Jackson, Ana, Adam, and Lucy. She also became an even more important part in my life, as well as Emily's. I know I speak for both of us when I say how lucky we were to have become so close with Nana in these last few years.

In closing, I suppose that the picture I want everyone to have of Irma is a realistic one, not a make-believe sort that paints her as perfect or a saint, because that does her a great disservice. Irma was gutsy, loving, she made mistakes and voiced her regrets, but she was that rare creature who recognized her short comings and grew from them, not with them. That is a person to love and respect. 

Ashlee Durkin

May 18, 2019

I was so sorry to hear about Irma’s passing away. She was so classy and I know you will all miss her.

Maggie Rowe

May 18, 2019

Irma had a way of making everyone feel comfortable and she did it with style and grace. She was the original fashionista who always looked terrific for every occasion. Her wit and observations on life made for good conversation.

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