Cover photo for Irene Ellison Speer's Obituary
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1930 Irene 2022

Irene Ellison Speer

November 10, 1930 — March 28, 2022

Irene Ellison Speer was born on November 10, 1930 in Petteway, Robertson County, Texas to Henry B. and Annie Irene Ellison.

On January 26, 1949, she married the love of her life, Lenton Speer. Of this long-lasting union, were born three children, Michael, Timothy, and Deborah. Their young married life was spent living in Rockdale. They built a new home in Marquez, commuting back and forth to Rockdale until 1984. They spent the rest of their marriage in Marquez. Lenton and Irene were a model of what a Christian marriage looks like. Their marriage lasted for almost sixty-two years until the death of Lenton on January 23, 2011.

Irene was a former cheerleader and graduate of Franklin High School. She was a hard-working lady who grew up during the depression. She worked like a man when she was young doing things that a lot of girls at that age could not do. She could wire your house or your barn and fix a lot of your electrical problems.

Irene Ellison Speer was a college educated, deer hunting, tank fishing, livestock owning artist and crafter. She would work circles around you in her nicest clothes and perfect hair and makeup. Pants were allowed on the ranch, but even a quick trip to the post office required a skirt and hose. A lover of Lincoln Town Cars, she would drive fast and determined to any and every social event. None of her children or grandchildren ever went without food, handmade gifts, unwavering support and the most love a person could give. She might get you with a belt…just ask one of her grandchildren who made the mistake of calling her Ruby Irene…but minutes later she was making you a snack to make you feel better. If you were lucky, she might even let you have the icing from one of the many cakes she made. Irene could cook and bake with the best of them and it always gave her great pride that her cakes at various benefits would bring top money.

As a creator of jewelry, clothes, handmade wood items and anything else she could find a pattern for, she would stay up all night to make sure you had what she thought you needed. Her hands never stopped working, even with her fingers adorned with her prized diamond rings and nails professionally done. She never missed a nail or a hair appointment. With a passion for genealogy, she could meet a stranger at a cattle show in Kansas and figure out a way they might be related. She enjoyed making friends wherever she went, and would insist on keeping up with them by any means, including CB radio, hour long phone calls at her kitchen bar (with her eyes closed to concentrate), handmade Christmas ornaments, letters, and even email and text messages. Grandkids recall many trips to conventions, steer shows, jewelry shows and funerals of anyone she might have known and several snacks of Blue Bell ice cream eaten with pencils from the glovebox.

After many years working in the administration office, Irene retired from the Leon Independent School District in 1994. Retirement didn’t slow her down. She served as president of the Concord Cemetery Association and was an active member of the Concord Reunion Committee, the Brazos Valley Parkinson's Support Group and the Centerville Chapter Woodmen of the World. She was meticulous with numbers and managed the books for the Tri-S Ranch until 2017.

For the entirety of her life, Irene was the definition of a Proverbs 31 woman. She never sat still. She loved spending time at church activities, crocheting, playing bunco, and being with family. For the past two years, Irene was a resident at Rockdale Estates and Rehabilitation where she was well taken care of and loved by the staff. On March 28, 2022, Irene passed away. Family and friends take comfort in the fact that she finally joined her beloved husband in Heaven. Although she was on this Earth for ninety-one years, it still doesn’t seem like enough time. Irene was the glue that held everyone together. She lived by faith, and felt no alarm.

Irene was preceded in death by her husband, Lenton; her parents, Henry and Annie Ellison; a brother, Henry Dean Ellison; a sister, Hartense Ellison Rodgers; a brother-in-law, Benton Speer and a grandson, Matt Lehmkuhl. Survivors include her children, Mike Speer and wife, Betty, of Marquez; Tim Speer and wife, Alice, of Marquez and Deborah Burrough and husband, Mike, of Rockdale. She is survived by her six grandchildren, Kyle Speer and wife, Brook of Slidell, Louisiana; Michelle Lehmkuhl of Georgetown; Kent Speer and wife, Tina, of Marquez; Lance Burrough and wife, Jennifer, of Liberty Hill; Delana Towns and husband, Richard, of Franklin and Ben Speer of College Station; and eleven great-grandchildren, Tyler and Hannah Lehmkuhl, Parker Burrough, Kendall, Melanie, Clay, Brody, Barrett, and Sydney Speer, and Kyla and Klinton Towns. She is also survived by a brother, Hugo Ellison and wife, Pansy and a sister, Billie Speer, all of Marquez, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Services for Irene will be at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 1, 2022 at Walters Funeral Home in Centerville, Texas. Burial will follow at the Concord Cemetery. Gene Darby of Centerville will officiate. Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2022 at Walters Funeral Home in Centerville.

Serving as pallbearers will be her grandsons, Kyle Speer, Ben Speer, Lance Burrough, Richard Towns, and Tyler Lehmkuhl, along with nephew, Brett Rodgers. Honorary pallbearers will be her nephews, Bruce Ellison, Brad Ellison, Shane Ellison, Todd Ellison, Rick Morris, and Roger Willis.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Marquez Church of Christ, P.O. Box 33, Marquez, Texas 77865, or to the Concord Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 16, Concord, Texas 77850.

Final arrangements are under the direction of Walters Funeral Home, Centerville, Texas.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Irene Ellison Speer, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Thursday, March 31, 2022

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Friday, April 1, 2022

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