Obituary of Irene Emily Placker
Our family’s amazing mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother Irene Emily Placker has gone to be with her Lord. We will miss the great energy and love she invested in our family.
She has left behind a son Charles Placker and a daughter Sue Hallgren, both of Bellingham.
Her strong spirit has encouraged us.
She met her husband Bill while he was on leave before going to the Pacific to serve in the Marine Corps, writing to him faithfully and falling deeply in love with him. They had met while Mom was on a shopping trip to Seattle with a friend. A picnic at Greenlake that day and many letters led to a lifelong strong bond of love. A bond that led Bill to send his mother money for an engagement ring for Irene. A bond of love that gave Irene the confidence to board a train to Corpus Christi, Texas, with her cedar chest filled with gifts from her family and friends, but no family members. A leap of faith, love, and trust. Bill’s grandfather G.W. Helms married them. A marriage that was strong and ended when Bill passed away in July of 2009. They’d had 63 ½ years together – a living example before our family of love, respect, friendship, and strength. They also modeled hospitality and the importance of a good sense of humor.
A few months after they were married, they moved to Bellingham in 1946, where their son Charles was born January 3, 1947, and Susan in July of 1949. Barbara was born August 1950 and passed September 11, 1950.
They built three houses together, working side by side on plans, as a team.
In 1951 Irene went to work as a telephone operator at Pacific Northwest Bell where she worked until 1960 when the company went to the “dial system”.
Even while working different shifts she managed to cook nutritious meals and many baked goods for our family and keep an orderly home. The home they had built on Hollywood was finished in 1960.
In 1968 they purchased acreage on Grandview Road in Ferndale and renting a home next to their property they began to plan and build their third house together. This home was filled with laughter, many Sunday dinners with family and a park-like setting that their grandchildren enjoyed along with many barbecues where Bill would say, “Irene, we need more meat, those grandkids are going to be hungry.” Mom loved to cook! Good thing because Dad loved to feed people.
The tractor provided fun rides with Grandpa and their garden grew the best carrots ever, a constant treat every summer for the grandkids.
Upon retirement they moved to Mena, Arkansas to be near Bill’s family, and also renovated a house they bought as a rental. Then on to the next move to Lake Havasu, Arizona, where they purchased a home and enjoyed making new friends.
Feeling the need to move back to Bellingham, they sold that home and returned here to live the rest of their lives close to family, enjoying their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Bill went home to be with the Lord in July of 2009 and Irene May 26, 2019. I’m sure they are enjoying their new home. They will be greatly missed by all of us. Both were loved. Both were amazing. Many happy memories will comfort all of us.
Irene was preceded in death by Bill and an infant daughter, her parents, and two brothers.
She leaves behind children Charles Placker and Sue (Daryl) Hallgren, both of Bellingham; grandchildren Holli (Brian) Gomes of Longview, WA, Shawn Marie (Dave) Jones of Ferndale, WA, David (Kristin) Hallgren of Pennington, NJ, and Christine (Chad) Coatney of St. Claire Shores, MI; and 12 great-grandchildren: Brittney (Caleb) Breakey, Grace Jones, Emily Jones, Matthew Jones, Tim Jones, Michaela Gomes, Kaitlyn Gomes, Andrew Gomes, Anna Hallgren, Josephine Hallgren, Theo Coatney, and Rachel Coatney.
Irene’s graveside service will be held on Friday June 21, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Greenacres Memorial Park (5700 Northwest Dr. Ferndale, WA).
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the University of Washington Alzheimer’s Research Center.