(Alice) Irene Roberts DeBorde, 89, passed away at home on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, surrounded by her family, her pug Lucy, and within sight of her beloved Flathead Lake. Irene was born in Butte, MT on July 23,1931 to Moses and Ella Mae LaMare Roberts. As a young girl, she was fortunate enough to attend church camp at the Flathead United Methodist Camp. She had never seen such a beautiful place and told everyone she would live there one day.
While attending Butte High School, she met the love of her life, Donald Lane DeBorde. They dated for 3 years and were able to attend prom twice at The Columbia Gardens. They were married on Aug. 6, 1950. Irene loved to dance, and she and Don spent many summer nights dancing at the Columbia Gardens with their growing family. In the winter, they loved to go to the Gardens to go sledding.
Early on, Irene worked at her father’s store, The Cottage Market, in uptown Butte. In 1963, Don and Irene moved to Bozeman after purchasing The North Side Market with their good friends, Pat and Connie Kradolfer. In 1969, they opened the Hinky Dinky, a family-run convenience store, which they ran together. Later on, Irene worked at the front desk of the Culbertson-Mullen Boys Dormitory at MSU. She was loved dearly by her boys and they considered her their House Mother.
Irene had a zest for life and loved to have fun. She and her sister, Clara Mae, had many adventures and were involved in many shenanigans. Wine was shared, jam was made, and there were rumors of skinny-dipping and shotgun weddings. Irene was also known to throw the best tea parties for her grandchildren; hats, gloves, and rings included. She made puffer-butter sandwiches, and would try most anything her grandkids dared her to do.
People loved her and weeds feared her. Irene kept beautiful flower beds and loved her vegetable garden. And as many of you know, she was crazy for pug dogs. She enjoyed volunteering with the Methodist Church, decorating, cooking, and quilting. Many of her quilts went to her family members, hospitalized patients, and to pets in need.
Irene spent a great deal of her time on the hunt for the perfect piece of property on the shores of Flathead Lake. Finally, in 1975, within sight of their 25th anniversary, and in lieu of a second honeymoon trip, Irene found some property on Flathead Lake. With 100 feet of beautiful lakeshore, Don and Irene purchased the property for the incredibly “expensive” amount of $22,000. After scraping, saving, and borrowing, she finally had her slice of heaven at the lake. Together, she and Don built their dream house and retired to Flathead Lake in 1991. In 2003, they moved to their current home in Polson. They recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Irene is survived by her husband Don, and their three children Linda (Allen) Bone, Terry (Rhonda) DeBorde, and Becky (Gary) Theis, her 8 grandchildren Christy, Ryan, Matthew, Jacob, Hannah, Trevor, Bailey, and Spencer, and her three great grandchildren Elliott, Paisley, and Shelby. Her ashes will be interred at Lake View Cemetery, close to her beloved lake.
We would like to send a special thank you to Frontier Home Health and Hospice for their compassionate care of our mother and our family. A celebration of her life will be held in June. In lieu of flowers, Irene wished for donations to be made to the Mission Valley Animal Shelter.