Aug. 24, 1917 Ė
Sept. 28, 2013
The last of a family generation occurred Saturday night at 11:15 p.m., when Ethlyn Irene Fenton moved from this life to her eternal rest at the age of 96. Irene was born 15 months before the end of WWI, in the country near Linden, Cass County, Texas, in a small sawmill community. She burst on the scene as the second of three beautiful sisters born to Willie and Birdie Mae (Moore) Parker. Four things would happen that would change her life forever: The Great Depression of 1929, the discovery of oil in October of 1930, World War II of 1939, and meeting the man of her dreams, Hollis H. Fenton, whom she married Feb. 2, 1935, by the Methodist Minister in Jefferson, Texas.
Recession days were spent living with various relatives and around Smithland, Texas. Her father went to work in the oil field, operating drilling rigs, consequently moving the family constantly. Irene lived in numerous places from Northeast Texas and Northwest Louisiana to far South Grand Isle. She went from pillar to post, town after town, school after school, and boarding house after boarding house, often living in the Shreveport and surrounding areas. She met Hollis who drove the bus she rode to school. Hollis went to work in the oil field and became a production superintendent with an independent oil company.
Soon after they married, Hollis was transferred to the Yazoo County Oil Field in Mississippi in 1939. Coming to the area at the same time were the familyies of Ireneís two sisters, the McConnells and Grigsbys, with their motherís two brothers and their families. But life was good, blessings abounded and family ties became stronger. Her mother, Birdie (or Honey, as she was appropriately called) continued to be the center of the three sisterís lives. Irene outlived them all.
She was a homemaker all of her life, during good times and hard times. She cooked, sewed, washed, cleaned, entertained, canned, gardened, and raised the two boys that blessed her life. She gave to her children what her mother had given to her, lots and lots of love, attention, guidance, values, leadership and her Christian faith.
She and Hollis shared 54 years of life together that were blissful and happy. She went to be with her heavenly father on the same date, Sept. 28, 25 years after Hollis died.
In her early 20s, Irene made her profession of faith in Christ and was baptized at Anding Baptist Church. She served as a teacher of children for years at Oil City Baptist Church. She has been a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Waxahachie for the past 25 years. Her passions were her faith in Christ, her family and friends. Irene was a people person. Everyone marveled at her ability to remember details of the lives of family and friends, of family events and personal connections. Her energy was boundless, and she loved to spend time with others. She also had a dry wit, a loving demeanor, an accommodating spirit and a heart as big as Texas.
The family is grateful for the love and friendship shown to her by many, many friends and loved ones. They also express their gratitude for the care received at the Red Oak Health and Rehab Center, Legend Oaks of Ennis, the medical staff of Ennis Regional, Baylor Hospital of Waxahachie, and Bristol and Lighted Pathway Hospice.
The next generations continue. Irene is survived by her two sons, Dr. H. Leroy Fenton and Jan of Waxahachie, and Alford Russell Fenton and Karen of Houston; grandchildren, Michele Long and Merlin of Corpus Christi, Joe Fenton and Erin of Houston, her granddaughter-in-law Denise Fenton of Dallas, Craig Fenton of Waxahachie, Darryl Fenton and Dena of Glen Rose, Jana Fenton Godwin and Tom of Kingwood; 13 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Hollis, her mother Birdie Mae Freeze, her father Willie Parker, her two sisters: Bernice McConnell and her husband Clayton, and Johnnie Grigsby and her husband Herman (Buck); her grandson, Rusty Fenton and her great-granddaughter, Hannah Fenton.
A visitation will be held from 5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Wayne Boze Funeral Home.
A graveside service is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 at Memory Park Cemetery in Longview, Texas with Dr. Leroy Fenton officiating.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to First Baptist Church, 315 North Rogers Street, Waxahachie, Texas 75165, for the general memorial fund. www.waynebozefuneralhome.com