Irene Elizabeth Gutshall was born August 23, 1924, in Liverpool, England, and lived to be 93 years old. She had many experiences in those years, several of which were challenging and some joyful.
During World War II, as a young adult, she endured the fear and near starvation of a Japanese concentration camp in China, where she was interred with her parents and sister. At the end of the war, however, she met the American man who would become her beloved husband and the father to her daughters, Dale Gutshall of Cabool and Elk Creek, Missouri. Dale, son of Charles and Cora Gutshall, was one of the Marine pilots who flew in to liberate the camp. In 1945 Irene boarded a ship to America and married Dale, but had less than ten years of happiness and a glamorous military life when Dale died testing a jet in California in August of 1955. She became a widow at the age of 31.
From that time on, she focused on creating a comfortable home and being the best mother she could be to her daughters Dodie and Terri, who were only two and five years of age when their father died. She lived in California, parenting, cooking, baking, gardening and sewing. She created many wonderful childhood memories there for her daughters.
Yet another challenge came when she was 48, when a tumor on her spine had to be removed. She fought to be able to walk again, after a year in a hospital bed and several surgeries. Irene again met her challenges and focused on keeping her home impeccable. She continued baking, winning contests for the wonderful treats she made for her daughters and ultimately her grandchildren, Carrie McKeegan, Brandon Pike, Scotty Shoen, and Riley Shoen, as well as her sons-in-law, Randy Pike and Ed Shoen.
Her last challenges as she grew older were related to falls, which lessened her independence and led to her relying on a wheelchair. By then she also had five greatgrandchildren, Timmy McKeegan, Jake McKeegan, Billy McKeegan, Jack Shoen and Finn Shoen.
Her body was failing but her mind was strong until the very end. May she rest in peace. On September 11, 2018, daughters Dodie and Terri buried Irene’s ashes in the grave of her husband, Dale. After many years of being apart, they are now together in Cabool Cemetery.
Dodie and Terri would like to thank the people of Cabool and Elk Creek who so thoughtfully befriended them and helped them search for their heritage while they were in town. They welcome any further information about other Gutshall family members, including their grandfather Charles Gutshall and aunt Veva Gutshall or other Gutshalls who are not in the area, at [email protected]