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Irene Bates Walitalo

October 19, 1924 March 25, 2024
Irene Bates Walitalo
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Obituary for Irene Bates Walitalo

Irene Walitalo, formerly known as Junita Irene Bates, passed away peacefully on March 25, 2024 at the age of 99 1/2. Irene was born on October 19, 1924, in Marysville, Kansas, and was the cherished eldest child among her seven brothers.

Irene's industrious spirit led her to attain her GED and embark on a remarkable career spanning 41 ½ years in the railroad industry. She worked tirelessly for both the Santa Fe Railroad in Topeka, Kansas, and later for the Rio Grande Railroad in Denver.

In 1950, Irene married Jack Munson, and together they embraced parenthood by adopting their beloved daughter, Connie. Tragically, Connie's life was cut short in a car accident at the tender age of 14, and Jack, Irene's loving husband, also met a similar fate in a car accident.

In 1971, Irene found love again and met Edsel Walitalo at the South Sheridan Baptist Church in the singles Sunday school class. The following year, they exchanged vows, and Irene became a devoted stepmother to his two adopted children, Richard and Mary Lynn.

Throughout her life, Irene pursued various interests with passion and vigor. She had a keen interest in herbs and vitamins, trusting them for her overall well-being and leading a healthy lifestyle.  A woman of remarkable courage, Irene obtained her pilot's license and, alongside Jack, purchased a Piper Tri Pacer airplane. Her adventurous spirit took her on exhilarating solo flights, including one memorable experience she recounted in her writings.

Irene generously shared her passion for flying and weather with younger generations as a member of the Civil Air Patrol, where she taught aspiring aviators aged 13-18. She also served as an officer of the Santa Fe Women's Club and the Toledo Organization of Chiropractors, alongside her first husband, Jack, who was a chiropractor.

Having been baptized as a young girl at the East Side Baptist Church, Irene's faith remained a guiding force throughout her life. Alongside her second husband, Edsel, Irene enjoyed the freedom of travel, owning an RV, and exploring new destinations with their family.

In addition to her remarkable career and pursuits, Irene and Edsel invested in real estate, acquiring numerous rental properties. Irene managed these properties and tenants with a firm yet compassionate hand.

Irene was preceded in death by her mother, her seven beloved brothers: (named in age order) Carl, Ray, Lloyd, Durrel, Ben, Joe, and Jerry, her first husband Jack, her second husband Edsel, her daughter Connie, and stepson Richard.  She is survived by her stepdaughter Mary Lynn Rutz, grandchildren Casey, Lacey, Kelsey, and J.C Rutz, and great-grandchild Aliyah.

Irene's legacy of resilience, kindness, and adventurous spirit will forever be cherished by all who knew her. She will be dearly missed but fondly remembered for the love she shared and the lives she touched.

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Previous Events

Funeral Service




10:30 AM 4/4/2024 10:30:00 AM
The Chapel at Ellis Family Services

13436 West Arbor Place
Littleton, CO 80127

There will be a viewing an hour prior to the services.

The Chapel at Ellis Family Services
13436 West Arbor Place Littleton 80127 CO
United States

Cemetery Details


Golden Cemetery Final Resting Place

755 Ulysses Street
Golden, CO 80401

755 Ulysses Street Golden 80401 CO
United States

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