Irene Ruth McNall, 88, of Joseph, passed away peacefully at Alpine House with a family member at her side on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Irene was born Nov. 30, 1926, in Wallowa County at the Neiman homestead at the mouth of Gumboot Creek on the upper Imnaha River. She was the first of five children born to Elmer and Marguerite (Whitcomb) Neiman, second generation homesteaders.
Irene was homeschooled and also attended schools along the river where her mother taught until her parents moved to a farm they bought on upper Prairie Creek. Irene attended school in Joseph until her parents divorced. She then stayed home to take care of her four siblings and work the farm while her mother taught school.
Back in those days, barn dances were one of the few sources of entertainment and provided the most fun. Irene loved music and dancing. In 1949, at a dance at the mouth of Camp Creek on the Imnaha River, Irene met, fell in love with, and married the only man in her life, Francis McNall of Zumwalt Prairie. Their first son Kenneth was born in 1950, Harry in 1951, and Michel in 1953. They lived on the prairie until Ken started school, the last family to move to town. Irene lived on the farm/ranch they bought outside of Joseph until moving to Alpine House (a wonderful, caring place) in 2012.
Irene lived through the Depression and hard times, but there were also plenty of good wholesome fun times with family and friends. With hard work (and she was one hard-working woman) came an easier life, but she was still driving a tractor well into her 70s. Irene loved to hunt and fish, and was very good at both. Camping, hunting, fishing, and the “good old” Wallowa County lifestyle was what life was all about to Irene. She never knew or wanted anything else. In passing, a little of Wallowa County went with her. Irene was of pioneer/homesteader stock. People knew her as a real-life farmer, rancher, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She will be missed.
Irene was preceded in death by her parents, husband Francis, brother Donald Neiman, son Harry McNall, and grandson Michel McNall. She is survived by her brother William Neiman of Enterprise; sisters Helen Sexton of The Dalles, and Thelma (husband Virgil) Patton of The Dalles; sons Kenneth McNall (wife Glenna) of Eugene, and Michel (wife Laurie) McNall of Joseph; 10 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. A funeral service was held on Sept. 27, 2015, at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Enterprise, followed by a private interment at the Enterprise Cemetery, Sept. 28, 2015.