Dec 7, 1931 – May 7, 2018
Irene Katherine Kane (nee Gaetz) was set free from her dementia and passed away peacefully in Durand Manor on May 7, 2018.
Irene was born in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan December 7, 1931 and grew up near Armstrong B.C. As eldest child, looking after her six younger brothers became Irene’s responsibility, including the unenviable task of making meals with near-empty cupboards at times. Irene did not have the chance to finish high school and instead worked to help supplement the meagre family income since their father had left them. She worked picking raspberries at first, then moved to Vancouver and worked as a telephone operator. Irene was competent enough that her supervisor felt she could become a supervisor herself.
The east end of Vancouver was unsafe for young girls, however, and so she moved to Banff. There she worked in Banff Drycleaner and Laundromat. In Banff, too, she met her future husband, Robert Kane. A son, Alan, and a daughter, Jill were born in Banff before the family moved west to Golden in 1957.
For the first while, home was a small shack near Sigalets’ (later Evans Products) sawmill in town. Right next door were Ray and Margaret Olson, in a similar small shack with their children, and the two families became life-long friends. Irene later worked in Golden drycleaners, and when Bob built a new house and South wind Motel in Nicholson, Irene took care of the motel, on top of maintaining a large garden.
Surprises like Ryters’ cows getting into the garden in the middle of night were not uncommon, but growing up in the rural countryside of Armstrong prepared her well for dealing with such events. It was during these years that Irene showed her green thumb, growing vegetables and especially flowers. She became adept at painting with both oils and watercolours. Landscape paintings of local scenes were seen in local businesses and art shows. Irene enjoyed horseback riding until a back injury at the Laundromat made riding painful.
During the 70’s, Irene worked in the Lounge at Golden arms hotel and her always friendly manner was popular with patrons. She later owned Golden Shoe Barn with co-owner Bud Stewart. When not selling shoes, her backyard flower gardens were her passion and much of her life revolved around these. They were truly spectacular and the beautiful floral setting was sometimes used for wedding photos. After winning the prize for best flower garden several times, she asked to be left out in future so others could win.
She also enjoyed hiking. Irene excelled at both cooking and baking; her special dinners at Christmas, New Years and Easter were unparalleled and remembered fondly by anyone who ever enjoyed one. Columbia Valley was her home and although she did fly to Victoria once and Hawaii twice, Irene never had the travel bug. Summer drives to relax at the beach on Shuswap Lake were far enough abroad for her.
Irene was predeceased by her husband Robert and her brother Peter. She is survived by son Alan (Diana) of Calgary and daughter Jill (Larry) Armstrong of Golden, brothers Frank, Jim, John, Tom and Mike, half-sister Julie, grandson James Armstrong and granddaughter Heather Armstrong of Golden, as well as nieces, nephews and cousins.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Tanis Brown and all the staff at Durand Manor for the wonderful care Mom received while there.
There will not be a memorial service; however, financial donations to Durand Manor (Golden) in memory of Irene Kane can be made at online through East Kootenay Foundation for Health at https://ekfh.ca/donate/