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Irene Walther

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Irene Walther

Irene Walther passed away in her sleep, May 20, 2016 in Elko, NV.

Irene was born at home, by her mother alone, near the mouth of Jarrett Canyon near Tuscarora, NV March 24, 1925, the first and only child of Bill and Hazel Behn.

She was preceded in death forty days by her husband of 61 years, Jack Walther, and is survived by sisters-in-law, Beulah Dalley of Idaho Falls, Idaho and June Reilly of Oxnard, CA. She leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews and dear friends in Elko County where she spent most of her 91 years.

Irene was a woman among men from an early age preferring the outdoor ranching work with her father to the women’s work of that time. She became a proficient horsewoman, working cowgirl, ranch hand, equipment operator, truck driver, builder, mechanic, working both with her father and for other ranches around Independence Valley. She could do anything a man could do and usually better.

In 1993 she received a 100,000 Mile Club Award from the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association for having logged over 100,000 miles riding horseback in her life.

Irene married Jack Walther in 1955 and worked with him at the 71 Ranch and their own ranch near Fort Halleck as well as with her father at his ranch in Lamoille. She and Jack bought the Martin ranch on Lamoille Creek together and when he retired from the 71 made their home there. They eventually consolidated their ranching operation, through sales and purchases of land into an expanded Martin Place in the Lamoille Valley where they raised purebred Red Angus cattle.

Irene shared with Jack a love of horses. They raised purebred Morgan saddle horses and Suffolk Punch Draft horses which they also trained. The horse enterprise evolved to include an interest in restoring horse drawn vehicles and requests for carriage rides which she and Jack provided free of charge for parades, weddings, and educational tours.

Ever curious and competent, Irene was a carpenter, rock hound, cartoonist, skilled with the sewing machine, loved trucks, cats (both the furry, purry ones and the bulldozer ones) tractors and motor vehicles, a decent cook, an adventurer and she loved paint. Painting houses, vehicles, trucks, rusty antique machinery, and painting at the easel: horses, landscapes, animals, and flowers. There wasn’t much she saw that couldn’t be improved with paint. She also loved music especially show tunes and western musicals like Oklahoma and Annie Get Your Gun, and the variety of Community Concerts at the Convention Center in Elko. As a youngster she played the violin and had happy memories of playing the sousaphone in the Elko High School Band.

Irene and Jack were able to balance their strongly independent individual natures and be reliable working partners. They enjoyed working out the puzzles of each day, with imagination, kindness, humor (lots of it), patience and care, to prosper as business people and good loving friends and neighbors.

In 1982, Irene riding Esther, a palomino mare, executed a last minute tactical surge to win the Man Mule race. She participated in the race many times horseback or by carriage. Gifts in Irene’s memory may be given to: Ruby Mountain Riding for the Handicapped c/o Mc Mullen McPhee &Co, 215 Bluff Ave. Ste. 300 Elko, NV 89801.

Irene’s remains have been entombed at the Garden of Peace in the Burns Memorial Garden. She was not a fan of funerals so a gathering to share stories and memories is being planned for a date yet to be determined.

We give special thanks to all who cared for Irene over the past 6 months at the Highland Manor.

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