Irene P. Duffield (1916-2017)

Irene P. Duffield
June 23, 1916 – January 7, 2017 

Irene-Duffield-RESIZEDIrene P. Duffield, nee Norman, age 100 of Lebanon, IL, born June 23, 1916 in Sebeka, MN, died January 7, 2017 at her home surrounded by her family.

Irene grew up in a large family of 11 children. Her family migrated from North Carolina to Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota and finally to Nebraska. Irene worked as a telephone operator in Omaha and eventually became the first civilian operator at Fort Crook (later renamed Offutt AFB) around 1940. She married Mike Duffield in Omaha on February 24, 1946. After marriage, Irene enjoyed travelling around the country with her husband who was in the U.S. Air Force. When he retired from military service (at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland), they settled in Boulder City, Nevada where she continued to live after his death until moving to Illinois in 1998. While living in Nevada, they participated and travelled with the Zelzah Shrine in activities/parades and were part of the Mini-Bike unit. Irene became an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals after moving to Illinois. On June 23, 2016, Irene became a Centenarian with a party and special visit from Fredbird (the St. Louis Cardinals mascot). She enjoyed living with her daughter and son-in-law during the past 18 years, along with following Cardinals baseball, watching her two grandchildren grow into adults and especially enjoyed getting her hair done every week! Irene was beloved by all who met her. She knew no strangers, just friends!

She was preceded in death by her parents; James and Lula, nee Jester, Norman, her husband; Michael Howard Duffield (CMSgt USAF, Ret.) who died on July 6, 1986, seven sisters; Amla, Treva, Vernne, Evva, Myrtle, Joy, Darlene (“Boots”); and three brothers; Herman, Luther Benbow and James Elvin (“Punkie”).

She is survived by her daughter; Alice Laura (Robert) LaRue of Lebanon, IL, grandson; Michael David LaRue of O’Fallon, IL, granddaughter; Jennifer Rene LaRue of Lebanon, IL; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and many nieces, nephews and extended family.

The LaRue family would like to thank the ladies of Jenie’s Hair Loft for being Irene’s “second family”. Not much stopped Irene from getting her hair styled! They would also like to thank Sylvia Turner for the loving and compassionate care she provided Irene during the past few months, days and hours of her life.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois or St. Louis Cardinals Care at

Visitation was held from 5:00 – 7:00 pm Thursday, January 12, 2016 at Schildknecht Funeral Home 301 S. Lincoln Ave, O’Fallon, IL 62269.

An additional visitation was held at 12:30 pm on Saturday, January 14, 2016 at Crosby Burket Swanson Golden Funeral Home, 11902 W. Center Road, Omaha, Nebraska 68144. A graveside service was held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, January 14, 2016 at Hollst-Lawn Cemetery, Yutan, Nebraska.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Schildknecht Funeral Home, O’Fallon, IL.