We announce with deep sadness the passing of Irene Dunham of Lovell, Maine. With great joy and faith we share her firm belief that she will join again with Kelly Dunham, her beloved lifelong partner, whom she met at 17. They lived life as a couple in every sense of the word for 58 years until his death in 2010.
Irene, the daughter of Howard and Winona Allen, grew up in Lovell. In first grade she began a lifelong friendship with Berta Chandler. Irene and Berta spent many childhood sleepovers sharing laughter and discussing important topics late into the night. These discussions would end only when Howard, Irene’s father, would yell upstairs, “You girls be quiet and go to sleep!” Irene and Berta maintained these late-night talks until Irene’s last days. Their friendship provided Irene great comfort after the loss of Kelly.
One might describe Irene’s occupation as homemaker; however, this would not tell the whole story. She was a partner in Kelly’s construction business, doing the accounting, ordering supplies and everything that needed to be done that did not involve swinging a hammer. When Kelly got sick and could not work as regularly, Irene worked long hours supporting the family by sewing at home.
She was a very good student and voracious reader. Her love for books led her to open and operate a bookstore in her barn for many years. Irene enjoyed painting and did every kind of craft from knitting to needlepoint to braided rugs.
Her granddaughter Katie Beth recently showed off to her friends a pillowcase which Irene had embroidered with many sweet forest animals. With pride she said, “My grammy is a true artist.”
Irene was predeceased by her daughter, Cathyne and brother, Michael.
She is survived by her son, Richard (Barbara); two brothers, Russell and Wayne Allen; three grandchildren, Kelly Sage (Ryan); Irving McInnis (Jennifer); and Katie Beth Dunham. She also loved three great-grandchildren, Reed Derosier, Rylee McInnis and Carter McInnis. She is also predeceased and survived by great friends, too long to list, who were very important in her life.
Irene did not enjoy winter and was not a fan of fall because it signaled the coming of the darkness of the dreaded winter. Therefore, her family will hold a springtime remembrance and picnic gathering.
If you would like to make a contribution in Irene’s memory, she would have appreciated your support of the Brick Church for the Performing Arts, P.O. Box 81, Lovell, ME 04051.
Arrangements are under the care of Chandler Funeral Home at 8 Elm St. in Bridgton, Maine.
Online condolences may be left for the family at chandlerfunerals.com.