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Kudelik, Irene

Nov. 29, 1934 — Jan. 3, 2022

It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of our cherished mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Irene Kudelik, on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Calgary, at the age of 87.

Irene was born in Poland in November 1934 to Pavel and Stanislava Chmielewski and soon thereafter immigrated to Canada with her parents and three siblings, Helen, Mathew and Ted. They homesteaded in Hotchkiss, Alberta, where siblings Diann, Rose, Stella and Paul were born.

Irene attended a country school until Grade 6, then graduated high school in Manning, Alta. Irene later attended the University of Alberta where she received her teaching certificate.

Irene taught in many isolated communities throughout Central and Northern Alberta prior to applying for a teaching position in Fort Simpson, N.W.T. She was successfully chosen and accepted the teaching opportunity. It was there she met Walter Kudelik, who soon after became her husband. Irene and Walter started their family, which included the arrival of four daughters: Gail (Duke; Carmanah and Sandon), Patricia (Ron; Kelsey and Madison), Carol (Tim; Brody, Kori, Briana and Kaitlin) and Deborah (Leonard; Lindsey, Tyler and Megan).

In 1969, the family moved to Hay River, N.W.T. where Irene became the first Adult Educational teacher in the Northwest Territories. She was the face of The Present Place, a gift and flower shop she and Walter purchased in 1972. Irene shone at being generous with the local artisans and kindly made time to share conversation and exchange thoughts with all who entered the store. She started and ran Tucho Tours, which gave tours of regional tourist destinations, such as Alexander Falls and Escarpment Creek. She even offered tours to the Nahanni region, for those interested. After more than 30 years in the North, Irene and Walter moved to Southern Alberta first to a hobby farm near Monarch and then to fully retire in Fort Macleod.

Irene was very active in religious and community organizations including the Catholic Women’s League and Royal Purple, where she held all executive positions at one time or another. She participated in softball and curling, liked to travel, and especially enjoyed walking in the woods during bright summer days and cold winter afternoons. She loved to read! She read so many books from non-fiction to autobiographies, and had a particular fondness for Westerns (particularly Western movies). She also read and collected many books of the North and was well educated in its history.

Irene loved to hear of the exploits of her great grandchildren (Ella, Myer, Luke, Andrea, Rylee, Murphy, Harper, Soren and Sofie) and had numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, husband, Walter, and brothers Ted and Matt. We will greatly miss her love, humour and candor.

A funeral service was held on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Lethbridge, but due to COVID restrictions it was by invitation only. It was live-streamed and if you would like to watch it, please contact Snodgrass Funeral Home (Okotoks) for details.

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