Mrs. Phelps died on March 31, 2014 at Glenhaven Retirement Village in Chickasha.
Irene Phelps was born in Hobart, Oklahoma, on March 11, 1910. She was the daughter of Samuel Thomas Mask and Vessie Barnhart Mask. She was preceded in death by her three brothers Gene, Charlie and Ira, and her one sister, Viola. As a child, Irene attended the Babs Switch School. Due to an illness in the family, she did not attend the Christmas party held there on the night of December 24, 1924. That event turned into a fiery tragedy with the loss of thirty-five lives.
Irene married Frank D. Huggins in 1928. The couple moved to Chickasha in 1930 and lived there the remainder of their lives. Irene and Frank bought their home in 6th Street in the early 1940s. In this home she raised her family of nine children and continued living there for sixty-two years.
Among Irene’s places of employment were Clyde’s Café, Mrs. Jobe’s “Paw Paw’s”, and Fowler’s store. She is often remembered for the delicious baked goods she prepared for the students and for banquets while employed as the baker at the then Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts. After retiring from OCLA, Irene spent many enjoyable years working in the nursery at the First Christian Church and baby-sitting in her home. She was also an accomplished furniture refinisher and restored and sold many antique pieces.
Irene was also a talented crafter and was a master at sewing and quilting. She continued her sewing after she moved to Glenhaven Assisted Living and made hundreds of projects by hand even after she turned 100. She is remembered for her beautiful quilts, her hand-stitching stuffed animals, her pillows, and, of course, her famous frogs. Included among her favorite pastimes were going to and holding garage sales and playing bingo.
Irene was preceded in death by her first husband, Frank D. Huggins in 1959; her second husband, Kenneth Phelps in 1986; children, Paula Jean Huggins in 1929, Helen Jo Smith in 1983, Marian Dale Grooms in 1996, Guy D. Huggins in 1999, and Sharon Kay Huggins in 2013.
She is survived by son, David A. Phelps of Chickasha; daughters, Seba Carol Snell and her spouse, Buddy of Missouri, Linda Lavelle Tretter and her spouse, Paul of Minnesota, Shirley Ann Bryant and her spouse, Billy of Tennessee, and Kathy Sue Diehl and her spouse, Jon of Tuttle; as well as many grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Irene loved Chickasha and never wanted to live anywhere else. Her 100th birthday party at Glenhaven was attended by many of the adults she had baby- sat as children, former students at OCLA, and people whose lives she touched through her baking, quilting, sewing, and crafting. Mrs. Irene Phelps, long time Chickasha resident leaves behind family and friends who loved her. She will be missed.
Interment will be in the Fairlawn Cemetery under the direction of Ferguson Funeral Home.