Irene Harding was born October 2, 1923 to Lendon (Doc) & Vera Mae Hamrick in Ashford, Alabama. Irene's 2 younger brothers were Eugene & Walter Hamrick. Irene grew up on her parents 300-acre farm outside of Ashford where she learned the lessons of hard work during the depression. She passed away on June 3, 2017 at her home in Brownsville, Texas.
Following high school & business college, Irene met her future husband - Jack Clayton Harding who was on a weekend leave from his Naval posting in Jacksonville, Florida. Irene & Jack were married in the spring of 1945.
In late 1945, Jack & Irene relocated to Chicago, Illinois which was Jack's hometown. In 1953, they moved to the suburb of Wheaton, Illinois.
Irene is survived by her 3 sons - Barry Wayne (Georgetown), Jack Clayton II (Brownsville) and Charles Robert Harding (Austin). Daughters-in-laws are: Nita Gaye Wallace Harding (Barry), Kathy Bilbo Harding (Jack II), and Gail Stevens Harding (Charles).
In 1961 Jack accepted a promotion & transfer to Brownsville, Texas to become General Manager of the Booth Fisheries shrimp division.
In the early 1980's, Irene planted an entire sack of Texas bluebonnet seeds in her front flower beds. The Brownsville Herald has twice published front page stories chronicling her beautiful bluebonnets and titled her ‘The Bluebonnet Queen'.
Irene's husband Jack passed away at age 64 from colon cancer in 1984.
In addition to her gardening interests, Irene also loved to cook & bake and has taught that skill to her 3 daughters-in-law and grandchildren.
Irene was an ardent supporter of the Gladys Porter Zoo and a member of the Cameron County Republican Women's organization. Irene was also a lifelong "Die-Hard" Chicago Cubs fan and was thrilled with the Cubs World Series title in 2016.
Her surviving family also includes 4 grandchildren: Courtney Joyner (Josh), Jaclyn Moore (Geoff), Jessica Kasper and Jack C. Harding III (Mary) and 5 great grandchildren, Harper & Taylor Moore, Allison & Will Kasper, & Jack C. Harding IV).
Irene also is survived by 5 nephews and 4 nieces living in Alabama, Illinois and Arizona.
Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2017 in the East Chapel at Darling-Mouser Funeral Home.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 7, 2017 in the East Chapel at Darling-Mouser Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to The Episcopal Day School, 24 North Coria St., Brownsville, Texas 78520 and www.episcopaldayschool.net and/or the charity of your choice.