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“Mrs. Wilkins, I was young and living in Southlawn when I first knew of you and older when I encountered your children and in church. Always remember...Read More »
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Irene Luella "Babe" (nee Hand) Wilkins was born November 26, 1923 at the farm home near Pilot Mound, Iowa. She joined the family of angels on December 18, 2017 at the Westhaven Community in Boone, Iowa.

She graduated from Napier High School in 1941. After graduation she worked in Ames, Iowa as a telephone operator. She met Henry T. Wilkins while he was stationed at Iowa State College in the Navy. They were married October 3, 1945 at her parent's home near Napier, Iowa.

After moving to Ankeny in March 1952, Irene was a busy stay-at-home mother raising three kids and volunteering as a Cub Scout Leader, Camp Fire Leader, and home room mother for various elementary grades and her church.

She worked for Bankers Life (now Principal) in the underwriting department, as a bookkeeper for a gas company and for Municipal Supply in Ankeny. She retired from Iowa Methodist Hospital dietary staff. In retirement she worked for Hardee's and sold Avon. She cared for her grandkids, Kirsten and Kira, before and after school. She volunteered at the Neveln Center and at her church. Needing something more to do she was employed by the Ankeny Schools to be a Chaperone on the special needs school bus mornings, noon and evenings for over 14 years. Her doctor forced her to retire at age 85!! Irene said it was the best job she ever had and she loved those little kids and loved it when they called her Grandma!!

Irene served as the Secretary for the Good Family Reunion for well over 10 years. Family was very important to her. She also loved to garden – whether it be indoor plants, vegetable or flower garden. Plants just thrived under her care. She especially liked working with her roses. She had an amazing green thumb.

Irene was well-known for being a great cook! Her specialty for family gatherings was Macaroni and Cheese along with Shoofly or Mincemeat pies.

Irene was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, Henry T. Wilkins, her parents Allen and Pearl (Good) Hand, a son Mark Wilkins, and four beloved granddaughters, Denise, Kelly, Crystal Wilkins and Renae Hamilton, her brothers Eldin and Lavern Hand and her sisters Margaret Clouser, Lillie Johnson and Opal Fagle and all of their spouses.

Irene is survived by son Henry Jr. (Carol) Wilkins of Weatherford, Texas and a daughter Maureen "Mo" Wilkins of Newton, Iowa along with six grandchildren: Erika Eckley, Joel, Christopher and Matthew Wilkins, Kirsten Weiland and Kira Norman. Irene had 5 great-grandchildren: Zachary and Ian Wilkins, Zoey and Tate Emmack and Caydin Harper. She loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and they loved their Grandma Babe!!