Irene Fleck, 97

Irene Fleck, 97, passed away Nov. 18, 2023, at The Cottages in Pella.  Funeral services following visitation were Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 2 p.m. in the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa with Pastor Jamie Bogaard officiating. Burial was at Evergreen Cemetery near Leighton. Memorials can be made to Lynnville Friends Church.

Irene Maxine (Chilcote) Fleck was born Apr. 4, 1926, near Eddyville to Hazel (Tyrrel) and Roy Chilcote. Irene attended country school near Truax then LaFayette Grade School in Wapello County near Chilicothe where she completed eighth grade. Irene proudly received her GED in 1970.

She worked as a housekeeper for neighbors growing up. As a teenager, she and her sister Pauline moved into Oskaloosa and rented an apartment while working at the Old Reliable grocery store. It was during this time she met her future husband. After a short courtship, she and Ray were united in marriage on Feb. 25, 1944, at their minister’s home in Oskaloosa. They first resided in town but later moved to an acreage near Leighton. They farmed with Ray’s brother Omer until moving south of Eddyville in 1945. They continued to farm until moving back to Oskaloosa in 1972.

They were blessed with three children: Laverne Ray in 1945, Dixie Lynn in 1947, and Vickie Jean in 1954. Irene kept busy raising their family while working for Shahan Nursing Home and the Eddyville School System. After moving back to Oskaloosa, she worked various jobs including Tower Park Nursing Home and Mahaska Bottling. Irene retired in June of 1993. She and Ray enjoyed traveling around the country but especially to Arizona in the winters. Their pastimes were gardening and fishing. Irene attended Eddyville Methodist Church where she was part of women’s clubs. Later, she attended Good News Chapel in Oskaloosa, where she liked to make cookies and pies for different church activities. After Ray’s death in 2008, Irene began a ritual of meeting her old buddies at McDonald’s for coffee several times a week. After some health issues, she moved to her own apartment in Lynnville and began attending  Lynnville Friends Church. Irene still maintained her own home and enjoyed making meals and food for family events and watching baseball games. Her beautiful attitude about life was contagious, and her wit was one thing that folks will remember.

She is survived by a daughter, Vickie (Ron) Nikkel of Lynnville; grandchildren: Bryan Brees, Lisa Brees, and Kelly (Nikkel) Rozenboom; great-grandchildren: Josh Brees, Abby Brees, Mark, Brett, and Amber Hannan, Isaiah, Jackson, Alaina, Daniel, Aniah, Gracie, and Josie Rozenboom, and CJ Nikkel; great-great-grand-daughter Oakley Brees; and stepgrandchildren Trent Jones, Ty Jones, Willow and Brandon Schinkel. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Irene was preceded in death by her husband Ray Fleck; her children Dixie Lorenz and Laverne Fleck; a grandson Clint Nikkel; a great-granddaughter Haley Brees; a brother Ray Chilcote; and her sisters Pauline Ferns and Wyota Tennis.

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