Irene LaVonne (Waterhouse) Lary, 80, of Muscatine, Iowa, entered the presence of her Savior on Sunday, April 19, 2020, after a short battle with brain cancer. She passed away at her home surrounded by family. A private family graveside service will take place at Oak Hill Cemetery in Central City, Iowa. A celebration of Irene's life will be held at a later date in Muscatine. Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Marion, Iowa, is assisting the family.
Irene was born in Coggon, Iowa, on May 5, 1939, to Wesley and Helen (Havlik) Waterhouse. Irene was the oldest of six children. She married Robert "Bob" Lary on Sept. 30, 1962, in Central City. The couple lived in Muscatine and raised their three sons.
Irene graduated from Iowa State University. Her first job out of college was at the ISU Extension office in Muscatine. Later, she taught family consumer science in the Muscatine Community District at Central Middle School and at Muscatine Community College. Irene was an avid 4-H leader for many years and was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame in 2014.
She was a member of the Muscatine Pilot Club, where she co-founded the Muscatine chapter of the Brain Injury Group (Brain Injury Alliance). For many years, Irene volunteered her time at Muscatine's Birthright House, where she counseled young women to choose life through unexpected pregnancies, and the Flickinger Learning Center, where she helped with the after-school program. Irene walked closely with the Lord and faithfully served Him. She was an active member at First Christian Church. Irene also actively served at several other local churches (First Baptist, Mulford) over the years.
Irene was a wonderful cook and Master Gardener. She was famous for baking many things such as kolaches and rolls. Her signature was gingerbread boy cookies. Irene used them to decorate her Christmas tree when her boys were young and had made them every year for her family and friends to enjoy for over 50 years. Her yard was an oasis of flowers, plants, vegetables and raspberry bushes. Through the years, Irene also spent many hours at her sewing machine making special items for her family and completing community service projects.
The delight and pride of Irene's life was her grandchildren. She was the ultimate example of a hands-on grandma, supporting them in all their activities like sporting events, concerts, recitals, school programs, academic achievements and mission trips. Irene's greatest joy was spending one-on-one time with her grandkids at her home. She loved to play games; give them clue gifts; let them make messes; teach them to sew, cook, garden; and make crafts. They all cherished their time at Grandma's house enveloped in her unconditional love and acceptance. She was the best at letting them be kids.
She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandma, friend, encourager, life-teacher and example of God's everlasting love.
Irene will be deeply missed by her sons, Timothy (Gina) of Dubuque, Iowa, Christopher (Joy) of Muscatine and Andrew (Makenna) of Tiffin, Iowa; and her grandchildren, Adam (31), Abby (28), Joshua (20), Carson (16), Jayden (12), Werkie (16), Beck (10) and Eli (7); her great-grandchildren; four siblings, Doris Nordstrom of Central City, Iowa, Bonnie Lingnofski of Minasha, Wis., Marvin (Barbara) Waterhouse of Manchester, Iowa, and John Waterhouse of Iowa City, Iowa; and sister-in-law, Diane Waterhouse of Shafter, Calif.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert; brother, Frank; and two brothers-in-law, John Nordstrom and Tom Lingnofski.
Memorials in Irene's memory may be directed to the family.
Please share a memory of Irene at www.murdochfuneralhome.com under obituaries.