She was born Sept. 9, 1917 in Highmore, S.D. to David and Margaret (Handel) Heckenlaible. Irene grew up in Highmore where she attended grade school. The family then moved to Bethel, Minn. Irene boarded in Cambridge for her high school years; she graduated from Cambridge High School in 1935.
In 1936 she was united in marriage to Victor Curtis. They had five children Victoria, Barbara, Frank, Judy and Steve. They farmed for a time in the Bethel-Isanti area, and then in Walbo, on the Rum River. Later they would settle in Cambridge in their home on Dellwood Street. After retiring, Victor and Irene spent 15 winters in Apache Junction, Ariz. and summers at the cabin on Big Sandy.
Along with raising her five children, Irene worked in the dietary department at the Cambridge State Hospital, and also as bookkeeper for the family business, Curtis Oil. Irene and Victor were charter members of the Cambridge United Methodist Church where she was very active in many different areas of the church. She volunteered at the Cambridge Medical Center Gift Shop, the Shalom Shop, the Cambridge Senior Center, and Meals on Wheels. She enjoyed gardening, her roses, quilting, and crocheting; she was very talented and made many intricate things over the years. Irene thoroughly enjoyed the time she spent at the cabin on Big Sandy. She also traveled throughout the world, including trips to Europe, Hawaii and Alaska.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Victor in 1991, grandson Jonathan Curtis, three brothers Emil, Helmuth and Ed Heckenlaible, sisters Louise Meyer, Adeline Melbourn, Lenore Fisher, Ruth Mickelson, and Edna Klauck. Irene is survived by her children Victoria Angstman of Princeton, Barbara (Douglas) Stein of Ham Lake, Frank (Kathy) Curtis of Princeton, Judy Maertz (Steve Falk) of Anaheim, Calif. Steven (Caprice) Curtis of Goose Creek, S.C., 18 grandchildren, 36 great grandchildren, sister Marcella (Al) Minning of Sacramento, Calif. as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Funeral Services were held Saturday, August 25, 2012 at Common Ground – A United Methodist Community in Cambridge with Rev. Jean Rollin officiating. Organist was Dorcie Larson. Pallbearers were represented from Irene’s 19 grandchildren: Dr. Gregory, Dr. Kurt, Paul and Mark Angstman, Daniel Stein and Jennifer Stein-Youngquist; Amy Petty, Tony Curtis, Aaron Curtis, Dr. Adam Curtis, Alesia Ipsen, Austin Curtis, and Amanda Shimek; Grant Maertz, Briana Maertz, and Tyler Maertz; Jason Curtis, Jonathan Curtis (in spirit), and Kirsten Wilkins. Interment was in the Cambridge Union Cemetery. Arrangements were with the Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge.