Irene Duckett passed away quietly on January 21, 2020 in Reno, Neva- da. Her proudest accomplishment in life was having been married to Jack Duckett for 64 years. Together they had a wonderful life. They were pleased that all five of their daugh- ters graduated from college and became happy, independent wom- en. They were also delighted with their 14 grandchildren, many of whom spent summers working with
Irene and Jack at Duckett Welding in Prineville, Oregon.
Irene was born in a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp in
Glacier Park. Her Dad, Platt Talbott, managed CCC crews and her Mom,
Alberta Holbrook Talbott, cooked and cleaned for those same crews.
Irene spent her first few years in Riggins, Idaho before the family moved
to the Lower Imnaha River then on to the Wallowa Valley. She attended
various grade schools in Wallowa County and graduated from Joseph
High School in 1948. Her Dad insisted that she work after graduation, so
she worked at the Bank in Enterprise for a year before marrying Jack and
moving to Imnaha.
Before long, Irene and Jack left Wallowa County in search of
adventures which took them to Phoenix, Arizona, Honey Dew,
California, Boise, Idaho, and Prineville, Oregon. Imnaha and Wallowa
County would always be home to them and they returned there often
to visit or live for short periods of time.
Irene was always a hard-worker. As a youngster she helped with the
family ranch and produce gardens. She was cooking for harvest crews
at the age of 12. She worked as a bookkeeper, a phone switchboard
operator, and helped at a gas station. She also worked as a school
secretary. As her daughters were growing up and moving out on their
own, Irene began moving out on her own as well. She owned and
operated The Fabric Shoppe and worked, for a time, as Certified Nurse’s
Aide before going to work full-time at Duckett Welding.
Irene was strong and determined. If you got cut, she would pour
turpentine on the wound and send you back to work. If the cut was deep,
she would use super glue to keep it closed and send you back to work.
She was once cutting metal for a customer when the saw broke and
fell on her leg. She was taken to the hospital, had the leg set, and went
back to work. (The man she was cutting steel for at the time came back
and purchased the saw at the machinery auction. He was so impressed
by Irene’s tenacity that he had to have the saw that broke her leg.)
After Jack passed away in May 2013, Irene lived with daughters in
Oregon, Montana, and South Carolina before settling into a place of
her own in a care facility in Nevada.
There will be no service or memorial per Irene’s wishes.
Irene and Jack requested that their ashes be intermingled and
that the daughters scatter the ashes at Imnaha where they would
always be home.