Irene Collett passed away on June 30 surrounded by family and all their love around her. Born in Delia, Kansas to Ignac and Veronica Horak, Czechoslovakian immigrants, Irene grew up on a 40-acre farm in Delia with her seven siblings and started school at age 5 in a one room schoolhouse, unable to speak a word of English.
She met her husband Melvin while he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, and they moved to the Camas/Washougal area where he grew up. The couple had three children: Ron, Harold and Sherry and she retired from Pendleton Woolen Mill in 1985 after 33 years of service.
Irene and Melvin square danced at the IOOF Hall and were frequent patrons of the Showboat Tavern in the 70s. They also boated on the Columbia River and enjoyed gardening, traveling in their fifth wheel, clamming, fishing, visiting relatives, and gold prospecting. Her family will remember her canning the best dill pickles, hosting Sunday dinners, talent for playing the harmonica, and making a mean clam chowder.
Irene’s greatest passion in life was gambling at all the local casinos where she won many jackpots on the dollar machine. Her eyes would always light up when talking about her winnings or her next casino trip. She also loved her chihuahuas and the companionship they provided over the years.
She is preceded in death by her husband Melvin and son Harold. She is survived Ron (Joan) Collett, daughter Sherry Collett, daughter-in-law Patti Collett, sister Esther Wehner, granddaughters Melisa (Jeff) Dailey and Monica (Lyon Wolff) Collett, six great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Straubs and Columbia River Cremation is in charge. There will be no service at her request. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
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