Irenee Marie Perfett was born on April 23, 1929 in Staples, Minn. to Jacob and Irma (Case) Perfett. She was raised on her family farm in Hettinger. After her father’s death, she took care of herself by taking care of other families. During her high school years, she worked for Ava Lindquist providing care for their children and their house. She also worked at dances the Lindquists sponsored and sold tickets at their theatre.
When Irene was 18 she moved to Staples, Minn. to live with her grandparents. She worked at the Woolworths Department Store. Her cousins convinced her to go to a dance and there she met her future husband. While dating Burl, she met her lifelong friend Marilyn Hall.
On March 7, 1949, she was united in marriage to Burl E. Chapin in Staples. They lived in Staples where Burl drove truck and Irene was a full-time stay at home mom. The Chapin’s moved to the Dakotas, living in Hettinger, Mobridge, and Bowman. In the early 70s Lemmon became her forever home. While continuing to raise her kids, Irene babysat numerous children throughout the years.
The McPherson boys are a couple of her favorites. Irene worked in George’s Pastry Shop for her friends Dwight and Sharon Colgrove until its closing. She then began working at the Ben Franklin Store. Many kids in town grew up to Irene waiting on them and selling them candy. Irene enjoyed bowling on a league for a few years. Unbelievably, she threw a 16 pound ball.
fter Burl’s death in 1994, Irene continued to work in the Ben. She became very active in the Spencer Memorial Presbyterian Church, holding different offices. She enjoyed volunteering at the Food Pantry for years. She and her sister-in-law Joyce from Hettinger put many miles on their vehicles visiting each other over the years. Irene was quick witted and always had a comeback. It was difficult to get the best of her. She had sayings her children will never forget like “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?” or “where ever you go, there you are”. She spent many afternoons having coffee with neighbors Dorothy Hintz and Mavis Ternes. In 2011, Irene moved into the Prairie Pines Apartments. She developed many new friendships with all the home. She was an ornery yet favorite resident of many employees there. Irene passed peacefully from this life there on Wednesday, July 5, at the age of 88 years, 2 months, 22 days.
Irene is survived by her Children, Darlene (Brian Hopfinger), Lemmon; Joan (Quentin Helvik), Gillette, Wyo.; Terry Polk, Jacksonville, N.C.; Gordon (Sandra) Chapin, York, N.E.; Gloria Thompson, Minot; Dean (Julie) Chapin, Shell Knob, Mo.; 13 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and nine great-great grandchildren.
Irene was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Burl, her grandsons Michael Helvik and Daryl Baesler, her sister Vera and her husband Ralph Murphy, her brother Richard Perfett and his wife Joyce who was her closest and dearest friend.