After nearly 97 fulfilling years, Irene Sophia Whatley passed away in her home on the morning of January 14, 2024.
Irene–known by those who loved her most as Mom, Grammy, Graham Cracker, Aunt Irene, and Great Grammy–was born on February 26, 1927 in Marinette, Wisconsin to Paul Thetreau and Rose Rebarchik Thetreau. Her parents encouraged her deep faith in Jesus through the Catholic Church from the moment she was born, and she lived that faith through her final moments in this life.
As a young girl, Irene enjoyed learning and was active in her school’s orchestra, glee club, and Latin club until she found her dream job: nursing. During her junior year of high school, there was a shortage of nurses due to World War II, so she became a nurse’s aide making 20 cents an hour. That experience and her growing passion for nursing carried her to Loyola University in Chicago where, in addition to being a full-time nursing student, she was a cadet nurse for the US Navy. One Saturday night during her three-year program, she and her girlfriends went dancing at the USO and she met a young sailor that everyone called “Tex.” After exchanging letters, she learned that Tex’s name was Tom and they quickly fell in love.
Tom and Irene married on August 27,1949 and had three bright children: Phil, Linda, and Patti. The family moved quite a lot for Tom’s engineering career, and they always made the best of each new home. Irene continued her successful nursing career at each stop around the country. During their time in Dallas, she even enjoyed being a labor and delivery nurse for some of the Dallas Cowboys’ wives despite being a staunch Green Bay Packers fan.
In addition to nursing, Irene cared for her family and her community by baking. Her mom was a pastry chef, so sharing those skills with her children and grandchildren became a family tradition. Especially in retirement, there was rarely a day when Irene’s kitchen lacked a cookie, muffin, pie, or cake. She would even leave treats for the pet sitters when she and Tom were away on one of their many travels.
For as long as she was able, Irene was also an active member of the Aggie Women’s Club, Aggie Wives’ Club, Aggie Mothers’ Club, and the Women’s Guild of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish in College Station, Texas.
In death, Irene is joyfully reunited with Tom, her husband and sweetheart of nearly 74 years. She was also preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Fr. Paul Thetreau; her sister, Sister Mary Paul Thetreau; brother, Jerome Thetreau; daughter, Patti Moore, and granddaughter, Jennifer Prado.
Those still carrying her legacy in life are her son, Thomas (Phil) (and wife Cheryl); daughter, Linda (and husband Al); son in-law, David Moore; five grandchildren and their spouses; and six great-grandchildren.
The family is deeply grateful to David Moore, Brandy Moore (Irene’s granddaughter in-law), Jamita Phillips (Tom and Irene’s home health care provider), Jeanne Hartranft (Irene’s Hospice nurse), and Bluebonnet Health Services Hospice for their loving comfort and care.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Saint Vincent de Paul in Bryan, TX, or to a charity of your choosing as a memorial to Irene Whatley.
Thursday, January 18, 2024
3:30 - 4:30 pm (Central time)
Aggie Field of Honor