By Nancy Hayden Field
Irene was the second child of Mary Jindra (Pelkey) Peltier and Andrew (Pelkey) Peltier.
She was born September 26, 1900. Her brother, Earl, was older and her sister, Evelyn, was younger. At sometime in her early childhood, they moved to Manitowoc. In those early years, they lived on 6th street, closer to downtown Manitowoc. Later they moved to 847 North 6th Street.
Irene’s parents actually used the last name of Pelkey. It is not clear to the family when and why this happened. Irene was often called “Pelkey” by her friends. Later, it seems, members of the family went back to using the last name “Peltier.”
Irene had a lovely childhood. She attended Sacred Heart for elementary school and Manitowoc High School. She left high school after 3 and a half years because at that time there was a shortage of commercial students, and she was placed by the commercial department to the office of the Manitowoc Seed Company. She said she went to seed right away! In spite of leaving high school early, she still graduated in the class of 1920.
Next Irene went to work for the Manitowoc Northern Traction Company, a company that operated streetcars. That company was eventually bought by Wisconsin Public Service Corporation where Irene worked for the rest of her career, retiring in 1965.
Irene never married. She continued living with her parents taking care of them in their elderly years until their deaths in 1958. It was a lovely and welcoming home. She and her parents spent a lot of time tending their large garden.
Irene was very close to her sister’s family, eating with them many nights of the week. The children Nancy, Margie and John Hayden were a constant and important part of her life. As children, they were always around her house. She would have them spend the night and go to all their important events. The backrubs she provided to these children have been remembered all their lives. She would pay those children to do various jobs, helping instill in them a good work ethic. When those children were older, she would spend long visits with them and was a very important part of their families. She was very good to her nieces and nephews and was an excellent role model for them. Once her nieces and nephews were grown, she visited many more places, such as Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Washington state. Irene also enjoyed knowing her brother, Earl’s, family.
She treasured friendships and had several lifetime friends. They would go on vacations and travel together, including trips to places like Yellowstone National Park and the Virgin Islands.
She participated in various Sacred Heart Catholic church activities. She enjoyed playing cards with her friends. She loved crafts, and perhaps might have been an artist if times were different. She painted and made objects out of tiles, broken glass, leather, shells and driftwood. She always seemed to have one project or another. She would make unusual Christmas trees. One year she made a tree out of weeds and another time out of pine cones.
She made beautiful Christmas tree ornaments out of milk weed pods with little birds sitting in the pods. Her nieces still have those ornaments they put on their Christmas trees each year, bringing back memories of their wonderful aunt.
Irene was quite interested in genealogy, recording the data of her families, especially the Jindra line. It was because of her excellent record keeping, her niece Nancy Hayden Field was able to trace their ancestry back to Miletice, Chezk Republic, finding the exact property of Irene’s grandparents Jiri “George” Jindra and Maria “Mary” (Krcmarik) Jindra, and visit that property, thus providing recent (2011) photographs of the property for living descendents.
Irene was healthy until her death on May 15, 1977.
Irene was a warm, loving and generous person. She was dearly loved by her family.