Zelda Irene Charles, second daughter of Cecil and Esther Charles, was born in Edson, Kansas, on November 8, 1923 and departed this life on March 5, 2013 at 89 years, 3 months and 28 days.
Irene joined the first daughter, Josephine, and later in 1926 a brother, Merle Dean, was born into the family. It was during this year that the family moved to Eads, Colorado. Their father farmed with beautiful horses at this site. Josephine began school at the Prairie Queen School located in this community.
In 1928 the family moved to a farm northeast of Flagler in the Shilo community. This was where Irene began school.
Her siblings, Duane, Joyce and Delmar joined the Charles family in the following years. In 1935 the family purchased a farm eighteen miles north of Flagler, Colorado. The children attended Mt. Pleasant, Shiloh and Flagler schools while living at this farm.
Irene graduated from Flagler High School in 1940. During the World War II years, the state of Colorado offered emergency teaching certificates for those willing to study college work during the summer and take a State Board Teacher's exam at the capitol building in Denver. Irene received her certificate and taught at the Sunnydale and Harrisburg Schools in Washington County; Mt. Pleasant and Flagler Grade Schools in Kit Carson County and after her children were of school age she substituted at the Arickaree School . She had many stories about teaching all eight grades in a one room school house, hauling water, stoking the fire, and walking and horse rides to and from school.
It was at the Sunnydale School that Irene met her husband, Robert. Shortly after they met, Robert enlisted in the Army. Robert served in the Philippines and Japan. He was discharged in 1947. On November 28th of that year, Robert and Irene were married. In 1951, they purchased their farm, known as the Green Valley Angus Ranch. Albert, Zelda, Donna and Colleen were born to this marriage and worked with their parents on the ranch as they grew.
In 1997, Robert and Irene celebrated 50 years of living, loving and sharing a life dedicated to God and their family. On July 21, 1998, Robert passed away at the Northern Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colorado.
Irene's life was dedicated to raising a Christian family, helping her husband, teaching children in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and enjoying fellowship with the Monday morning Bible Studies she began in her home in 1978. Irene also served on the Bethel Union Church board and the Christian Women of the Plains board throughout the years.
In June 2010 Irene entered the Washington County Nursing Home where she remained until her death. She was known to always have a smile, a kind word and be very tender hearted by all she encountered. While in the nursing home Irene entertained many a guest and her delight was always prior students stopping by to say hi or calling. Irene continued participating in Bible studies while at the nursing home, playing Bingo, doing crafts and she always looked forward to church once a week.
Irene was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, one sister, Josephine Fager Shaw, two brothers, Delmar Charles and Duane Charles, two brother-in-laws, Virgil Fager and William Haskin and two sister-in-laws, Peggy Charles and Clydie Travis.
Surviving her are four children: son Albert and wife Melinda Travis of Akron, Colorado, her daughters Zelda and husband Kevin Emmert of Dallas, Oregon, Donna and husband Nathanael Brown of Economy, Indiana, and Colleen and husband Rocky Johnson of Anton, Colorado. 10 grandchildren: Michael Travis of Juneau, Alaska, Jennifer and Carlos Herrera of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Shawn Travis of Akron, Colorado, Rebecca Emmert of Dallas, Oregon, David and Kristin Emmert of Tacoma, Washington, Maranatha and Kevin Shinoda of San Leandro, California, Charity and Ben Kibbe of Thailand, Jeremy and Lavonna Brown of San Leandro, California, Amy Johnson and Staci Smith of Golden, Colorado, Tad and Lorie Johnson of Akron, Colorado. 12 great grandchildren: Skylar, Ashton, Taylor and Jordana Herrera, Nathan and Micah Shinoda, Lydia and Evelyn Kibbe, Lucia and Westley Brown, Leann Campbell and Travis Johnson.
She is also survived by a foster son: Alberto Figueroa and wife Ellen of Akron, Colorado and children: Landy, Mindi, Julia and husband J.R. Herman, Rita and Derron.
Surviving are also her brother and sister: Merle Dean Charles of Pea Ridge, Arkansas and Joyce Saffer and husband Glen of Flagler, Colorado. Irene is survived by her late husband's family: Loral Haskin, Helen and Gene Lewton all of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Richard and Shirley Travis of Akron, Colorado and Clifford Travis of Anton, Colorado and many nieces, nephews, cousins and loving friends.
A funeral service was held Monday, March 11, 2013 at the Foursquare Church in Akron. Interment followed at the Akron Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Child Evangelism Fellowship, PO Box 348, Warrenton, MO 63383-0348; the Washington County Nursing Home, or to the Bethel Union Mission Fund. Bowin Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.