OBITUARY

Irene Dallas Gapen

August 18, 1925December 10, 2020

Irene Dallas Gapen

We honor, with lifetime acclaim and special funerals, those military men and women who sacrifice self to safeguard their country. My father was one of these battle tested WWII veterans so honored.

But how, then, do we honor a woman who spent her entire life in the service of family, friends and community? I wrote my father’s obituary detailing his military exploits and awards, his noble character and his career accomplishments. It is with equal pride that I write the obituary of my clever, kind and very hard working mother, Irene Gapen.

Irene was born the fourth of six children in Morgantown, West Virginia to Austrian immigrants. Irene excelled in creativity and math. While still in high school, she was put in charge of payroll at her parents’ Stone Quarry. She graduated from Business College and had a penchant for logical household inventions and repairs. She was facile with her hands and sewed without patterns, wallpapered, upholstered furniture and canned garden vegetables in the August heat. Daughter Jane recalls her mother sitting down to the sewing machine after dinner dishes, then waking the following morning to a new school dress hanging in her room. When her youngest went to college, Irene fulfilled a lifelong dream of opening a successful small business in Waynesburg.

Was a position to be filled? Irene was a Brownie and 4H leader, Sunday school teacher, 50 year hospital volunteer, and government election officer. She freely befriended “older” ladies (some of them years her junior) who were alone and needed someone to care. She played bridge, golfed, enjoyed needlework and made a difficult spare on the local TV show “Bowling for Dollars”. Her greatest loves were her two daughters, three granddaughters and dancing. Each grandchild received special attention at summer “Camp Reres” in Waynesburg.

Perhaps Irene’s greatest feat was caring for her husband of 58 years. Like many 1950’s housewives, she sacrificed self as she strived to fulfill John’s every want and need. He was a lucky man. Irene kept John at home until he passed at age 95, literally and figuratively supporting his over six foot frame and complicated medical problems. As John often said with a smile, Irene was the “Best Wife He Ever Had”.

Irene leaves behind daughter Jane, who was the Woman in the Arena in her parents’ final years. Like all caretakers, she deserves a solid gold star on the sidewalk of life. Jane serves as the Executive Director of the Greene County Humane Society. She has advanced the humane treatment of all Southwestern Pennsylvania animals in her 25 year tenure. Daughter Cindy is a retired Medical Doctor, who focused on Anatomic Pathology. Son-in-law Thomas Maynard is a surgical oncologist specializing in robotic pancreatic surgery. They live in Cincinnati, Ohio. Granddaughter Camille Irene and husband Tim Maddrix are hunter/jumper horse trainers based in Lexington, Kentucky and Ocala, Florida. Granddaughters Elizabeth and Rhetta live in Los Angeles. Elizabeth models in the United States and Europe with Ford Models; Rhetta is an environmental engineer with a special interest in sustainable energy.

Though many of Irene’s good friends have preceded her in death, she is also remembered by loving caretaker Jessica Work, bridge buddies, neighbors in Florida, faithful friend Carolyn Brown, Rose Dallas and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Burial will be held at the family cemetery in Greensboro following private funeral services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the Humane Society of Greene County, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania ( www.greenepet.org ).

Today, we honor the memory of a Great Woman. Respecting all her other accomplishments, Irene’s most profound legacy is true goodness and selfless love. Her example will shower down to benefit generation after generation.

Services

  • Private Services

Memories

Irene Dallas Gapen

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Barbara Wermlinger

December 16, 2020

She was ‘One Class Act’ a beautiful woman all around. Im so sorry for your loss

Cheryl Greenlee

December 16, 2020

I am so sad to know of Irene's passing and your lost. I really enjoyed going with Tom to visit John and Irene when we came to Waynesburg. Your mom was as beautiful on the exterior as she was on the inside and always had a smile for us. Her friendship with Audrey was lifelong and appreciated by everyone in the family. I pray that God places his loving arms around each to give you comfort. What a blessing to know she is in Gods care for a life well lived.

Kathy Ross

December 16, 2020

So sorry to learn of your mother’s passing. I remember talking with her, at the local Giant Eagle. I worked with Jane at the dental office in Blacksville. I have fond memories of attending a Christmas party in her home. At that party, I met Cindy and her family. Also, remember your Dad coming to the dental office. The Gapen sisters had a special set of parents.

Katherine Yancosek

December 16, 2020

I didn’t know your mother, but she sounds like a fantastic woman. You have written the most beautiful obituary I ever read. What a dedicated daughter you are.

Bob Willison

December 16, 2020

Irene was always a joy to be around. Her infectious smile warmed one's heart. That will be my memory.

Bob Willison

Karen Eisiminger

December 16, 2020

I had the pleasure of knowing Irene for many years. First at her business, then as a hospital volunteer, and finally as her neighbor for several years. Truly a great lady. I don't think I know any woman so accomplished and multi-talented. Fly high with the angels, Irene.
My condolences and prayers for all of the family.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY