We are extremely saddened to announce that Irene Kay Hartung passed away on December 15th, 2023 in Aurora, CO after losing the battle with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 73. Irene was born in Nebraska, but always loved Colorado and claimed it as her home state. She graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Denver and spent a year at Colorado State University before getting married and moving to Pennsylvania to become a homemaker, mom, and artist. Upon retirement, they moved back to her “home state’’ of Colorado.
A creative spirit, Irene was an extraordinary artist that immersed herself in sewing, painting, basket weaving, and beading. She was award-winning in sewing, knitting and needlework (National Grange competitions), a Certified Decorative Artist (CDA) within the National Society of Decorative Painters, and a member of the Rocky Mountain Bead Society, where she shared her passion by teaching others. She had a talent for incorporating unexpected elements into her art, such as using wine corks and spoons in her painting, and repurposing watch parts and zippers in her jewelry-making. Whatever she created was unique, beautiful, and exceptionally well-crafted. She was also a great cook, which happened because she “couldn’t eat another night of whatever her dad was making.” No one can make Sour Cream Chocolate Cake or cream puffs like she could.
Irene had a great sense of humor, and her laugh was infectious. She loved spending time with friends and family and playing games, like rummy, spoons, Yahtzee, and Scattergories. She even had this ridiculous, silly tune she made up to celebrate her victories (which her daughter and granddaughter now also playfully sing) - she will be missed! She was a fun and caring wife, mom, Grammy, and friend.
Irene loved her cats, and they loved her! She always considered herself the luckiest person for getting to have cats, and she passed that love of animals on to her children.
Irene is survived by her husband, Richard Hartung, of Aurora, CO; daughters, Erin Hartung-Ruane of Phillipsburg, NJ and DeeAnn Cranston (Emory Cranston) of Aurora, CO; and granddaughter, Jules Cranston, also of Aurora. She was predeceased by her father, Glenn Packer; mother, Catherine Packer (Smith); and older brother, Duane Packer.
Her final wishes included cremation and a private family scattering of those ashes in the Rocky Mountains, where her mom's ashes also rest. In lieu of flowers, we invite you to honor her memory by making a small donation in her name to the Dumb Friends League.