Irene Stephens Becker, faithful Christ-follower and loving mother and grandmother, passed away on March 28, 2022. Irene was the daughter of the late Hobson and Ethel Thomas Stephens, of Whitley City. Irene’s parents instilled in her a deep love of God and all people, as well as the importance of education. Irene lived out those values, and she passed them on to her daughters and their children. Irene devotedly studied God’s Word and strove to live out its message every day. She was active in her church community, and loved her time singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, and leading children’s choirs. Irene also took great joy in fellowship with her dear friends in the Dorcas Sunday School class at Richmond First Baptist Church.
Following in her father’s footsteps as an educator, Irene received her B.S. and M.A. degrees from Cumberland College and Eastern Kentucky University. She was an elementary school teacher for 36 years, in Cincinnati, Lexington, Frankfort, Louisville, and her hometown of Whitley City. Even after her retirement, she continued to educate students by tutoring in underserved communities. Irene influenced countless students’ lives, and she was incredibly proud of the great things accomplished by her former students, who went on to become educators, doctors, lawyers, business owners, and community leaders. Irene made it her mission to help each child realize and develop to their fullest potential. She took the time to organize and accompany students on field trips all over the country—from our nation’s capital, to NASA’s Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama—and to coach students in various gifted and talented competitions. Irene’s former students recognized the significant effect she had on their lives, and many of them stayed in close contact with her over the years.
Irene felt that her greatest purpose was influencing her children and grandchildren to be successful in life, and to always strive to improve themselves and the communities they serve. She provided her daughters with an incredible example of selfless love and perseverance—always putting their needs above her own—and modeled Christlikeness on a daily basis. Her legacy lives on with her two daughters, Karen (Mike) Cox and Kim (Mark) Butler; her four grandchildren, Alyson (Danny) Yates, Phillip Cox, Matthew (fiancée, Kelly Thompson) Butler, and Morgan (Sam) Berger; and her great-granddaughter, Isabella Rose Berger. She is also survived by a brother, Judson (Earlene) Stephens; a sister, Gail (Sherrill) Owens; and many other family members and beloved friends. Besides her parents, Irene was preceded in death by two brothers, Chester Stephens and Ray Stephens (infant), and a sister, Reva Dean Draughn. Irene will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her, but her family and friends find peace in knowing that she is with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. A visitation will be held on Sunday, April 3, 2022, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., at Oldham, Roberts & Powell Funeral Home, 1110 Barnes Mill Road, Richmond, KY 40475.
Graveside services will be held 11am Monday, April 4, 2022 at the Methodist Cemetery.
McCreary County Funeral Home entrusted with the arrangements.