Irene Marie Andree Dudley, 82, of Gig Harbor, Washington, and Anchorage, Alaska, passed away October 21, 2019, at St. Anthony’s Hospital, Gig Harbor, from complications of a fall in which she struck her head. Irene’s immediate family were able to visit her before her passing.
Irene was born August 6, 1937, in Mission City, British Columbia, Canada, to parents John and Marie (Cloutier) Schlosser. Irene’s many, many Great-Grandfather Zacharie Cloutier immigrated to New France (now Quebec), Canada, in 1634 from Perche, France. He is the common ancestor of the Cloutiers of North America. Irene had numerous relatives in Canada and was a favorite of many. She attended primary school in Mission City, and French was her first language, which she could still speak and read until her passing.
In 1946, Irene moved with her mother, step-father Victor Harold McPherren, and brothers Rudy and Guy McPherren from Canada to California, then to Texas and on to Alaska. Irene was loved and adored by Harold and her brothers. Upon arrival in Alaska in 1951, the family lived in a cabin rented from the Otter family and then in a house on Northwood Drive. Irene frequently recalled a winter snowstorm that buried their little house, and they had to shovel their way out.
In high school, Irene attended classes in shifts at the Fourth Avenue Theater in Anchorage while a new high school (Anchorage High, now West) was under construction. Following graduation in 1955, Irene worked as a bank secretary. In 1957, she traveled to Seattle to see an orthodontist for braces. She decided to stay in Seattle where there were more job opportunities, and, through a referral from her Anchorage bank, got a job as a teller. Irene was featured in a newspaper article after a robbery in which the thief handed her the note demanding money.
In 1958, she met Donald L. Dudley on a blind date with friends. At that time, Don was a Naval officer and medical student at the University of Washington. They were married in Seattle on December 12, 1959, and Irene continued to work and help Don through medical school.
Irene and Don enjoyed traveling, dining, opera, ballet, theater, and skiing. Because of her illness from lupus, they were unable to have children, but they enjoyed their beautiful Great Danes (Boris I and Boris II) and Labradors (Sassy, Sassy II, and Shadow). Irene and Don lived in Seattle and Poulsbo, Washington; Emigration Canyon, Utah; and then Kirkland, Bellevue, and Gig Harbor, Washington. She was loved by her many neighbors and friends wherever she lived.
Irene was accomplished in many handcrafts: crocheting, knitting, and needlepoint, and made many beautiful treasures for her home and family. She was a gifted seamstress and made beautiful suits and skirts from complex patterns. She was also a Cordon Bleu chef and loved to feed her family with delicious treats from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Irene was a pianist and loved to play duets with her neighbor in Bellevue. In addition to all those interests, Irene loved to ride horses and spent many happy hours trotting around with her friends on the Bridle Trails in Bellevue.
Irene loved to learn and excelled in bookkeeping and drafting. She even learned to transcribe books into Braille for the blind. Irene was truly a Renaissance woman.
Irene was of the Catholic faith, most recently attending St. Nicholas in Gig Harbor. She especially loved the Christmas Mass in Seattle featuring Gregorian chants.
Irene had many good friends who loved her charm, spunk, unique knowledge of French, Medieval, and British history, and generous hospitality. It was always a treat to visit her lovely homes decorated with Medieval prints and tapestries. Irene loved to visit her family in Alaska, and especially enjoyed driving the Alcan with her brothers, joining her family in Maui for vacations, and a recent trip to Anchorage to visit many old haunts with her sister Elaine.
Irene is survived by her brothers Rudy (Jeanne) and Guy (Ruth) McPherren; sister Elaine (Dave Zuker) Houchen; nephews: Justin (Melissa) McPherren, Christopher (Brenna) McPherren (her godson), Bruce (Paris) Houchen, and Kite and Korwin McPherren; nieces: Kelli (Darius) LaTocha, Amy (Sven List) McPherren, Emily (Steven) Gutierrez, and Sarah Houchen; great-nieces: Lola, Abbey, Josie, and Elsa McPherren, Kaylee and Kira LaTocha, and Stella, Harper, and Isabelle Houchen; great-nephews Guy and Liam Latocha, Daxton McPherren and Merrick List, and Dante McPherren; and long-time friend Linda Knowlton.
She was preceded in death by her husband Don, father (John); stepfather (Vic), mother (Marie), brother (Kit); and her beloved dogs.
No service is planned for Irene, but photographs of her and this obituary will be posted on the Haven of Rest Website. The family welcomes all Irene’s friends to visit the site and share their stories.