Irene Frances Kee of Lake of the Pines, Auburn, CA passed away at Kaiser Hospital in Roseville, CA, after a long battle with cancer, surrounded by loved ones, music and prayer. She was 89.
A visitation will be held from 4 -7 PM Wednesday, April 19th at Hooper and Weaver Mortuary, 459 Hollow Way, Nevada City. A Mass will be celebrated at St. Canice Church in Nevada City at 11:00 AM, April 20th with burial to follow at St. Canice Cemetery and a reception at St. Canice Hall.
Irene was born in Middlesex, NJ to Walter and Catherine Bartelt. She graduated from Bound Brook High School and in 1947 married John Kee. The family moved to Fremont, CA, in 1972. After settling into California, she began some college courses at Ohlone College and when she responded to an opening in a local school library, she began a 33-year career as the librarian in the Niles and Ardenwood Schools of the Fremont Unified School District. Upon retiring and after the death of her husband, Irene relocated to Penn Valley, CA to be near her daughter and just last year moved to Lake of the Pines with the family.
Irene’s interests were wide and diverse, starting in elementary school with working on the newspaper and being secretary of her library club. In high school, she took the “Academic Track” hoping to eventually go to college. She took mechanical engineering and, due to the war effort, learned to design and build aircraft models to be used for military spotters. She also joined the Army Civil Air Patrol, and took flying lessons up to but not including her solo flight, a lapse she would never forget. She always yearned to be in the sky, even going as far as parasailing in Hawaii and Florida in her eighties! She spent many years as a Girl Scout leader, volunteer in the schools and mentor to young people everywhere she went. She loved gardening,and sewing and dabbled in many different arts over the years. Her last few years she spent most Tuesdays at the St. Canice Religious Education classes greeting the children as they came in and chatting with everyone who would give her an ear. Irene received prayers from across the country from young and old as she battled her cancer. She has left a hole in many hearts with her passing.
Irene is survived by her daughter Mary Ann Kokai and partner Tony Whalen of Rockaway, NJ; daughter Kathy Kazules and fiancée Nick Puppo of La Mesa, CA; son John Kee of Bridgewater, NJ; daughter and sonin- law Carolyn and Loren Ayers of Auburn, CA; son Christopher Kee of Sonora, CA; son and daughter-inlaw Thomas Kee and Tiffany Glenn-Hall of Santee, CA; and 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband John Kee, granddaughter Samantha Kee, and great-granddaughter Bailee Walsh, her parents Walter and Catherine Bartelt, and her brother Walter Bartelt.
Arrangements are under the care of Hooper and Weaver Mortuary, Nevada City, CA.