Irene was born in Chicago, Illinois in December of 1920. The only child of immigrant parents, Selma and Hermann, Irene was dedicated to her Finnish heritage her entire life and instilled a love of that culture in those around her. She spent her childhood and teenage years living on the North Shore of Lake Michigan where her mother worked as a cook in many of the great houses that dot that famous shoreline. Irene graduated from Highland Park High School in 1937, and shortly thereafter attended the Secretarial College of Downtown Chicago as well as Northwestern University before taking a job with Zenith Radio Corporation where she worked before, during, and after World War II. During the War, Irene worked with the Zenith engineers involved with The Manhattan Project, and later she worked with Dr. Robert Adler in developing components for the first television remote control. In February 1945, she married William (Bill) King with whom she had one son and one daughter.
Upon retirement from Zenith in the early 1970s, Irene and Bill moved to Estes Park, Colorado where the idea of “retirement” quickly lost its luster. In addition to working for Estes Park attorney John Phipps as his legal secretary, Irene and Bill opened the successful Kings’ Royal Caterers that they ran together until their second – official – retirement in 1989. Though work kept her very busy, Irene was deeply involved in the Estes Park Community. She was a member of Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, The Newcomers Club, The Quota Club, and The Red Hat Society. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for many years, serving the Auxiliary in many ways. During her years as an Ambassador for the Town of Estes Park, Irene wore her red coat with pride. When at home, Irene loved spending time with family and friends, reading, knitting, teaching crafts, cooking, crossword puzzles, and chocolate. Her day was not complete, however, without a cold glass of Coca Cola.
For all this, it was Irene’s – known as “Mumu” – dedication to her family that will always stand out as her most notable and long-lasting achievement. She was a devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who always had the best interests of her family at the center of everything she did. The advice she dispensed and the love she shared during her 93 years was both invaluable and instrumental in shaping the lives and personalities of her family. The love and compassion instilled in them will live on in the lives that they, in turn, touch. Her beloved husband, Bill, devotedly cared for Irene during her final years of poor health, and he said of that experience, “It was the best job I’ve ever had.”
Irene is survived by her husband, Bill King of Estes Park, CO; son, William King and his wife Mary of Portage, MI; daughter, Kathleen Steinbach and her husband Thomas of Fort Collins, CO; granddaughters Sarah Steinbach-Ball (Randy), Julia Robles (Jesse), Laura Miller (Michael), Rebecca Steinbach (Schuyler Van Gorden), Andrea Campos (Antonio), and Erika Kaspar; great-grandchildren Randy, Jason (Jen), Jacqueline, Antonio, Aerial, and Carson; and great-great-grandchildren Shaylin and Rylan
We love you, Mumu. We will miss you every day for the rest of our lives.
A Rosary will be held at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 9, 2014. Per Irene’s request, a private memorial service will be conducted in May. In lieu of flowers, you might consider making a donation in Irene’s name to the Northern Colorado Honor Flight in care of Laura Miller, P.O. Box 1876, Estes Park, CO 80517.