In Memoriam : Irene Tarbox

Irene Tarbox Irene Duranceau Tarbox - age: 88
(August 16, 1930 to May 21, 2019 )
Resident of Kennebunk, Maine

Visitation Information:
There will be a viewing at Dennett, Craig and Pate on Main Street in Saco, Tuesday evening from 4pm to 7pm. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 11am at Dennett, Craig and Pate with a graveside commitment ceremony following at St. Mary’s Cemetery on Route 1 in Biddeford. A reception will be hosted by the family at Old Vines Wine Bar in Kennebunk afterwards. In lieu of flowers the family are requesting donations be made in Irene’s name to Autism Speaks.

With heavy hearts and mixed emotions, the family of Irene Anne Tarbox announces her passing on Tuesday, May 21, she was 88. Mixed in that while we know Irene lived an impactful life, full of family and friends, and that Irene has passed to a well-deserved respite, we are deeply saddened at the passing of our family’s emotional center. Irene passed in the peace and comfort of her home in Kennebunk, Maine.

Irene was the sixth of ten children, born to Blanche and James Duranceau of Biddeford, Maine on August 16, 1930. Irene grew up in Biddeford, attended St. Mary’s Catholic school and graduated from Biddeford High School realizing her parent’s dream that their children would get the education that they didn’t have. From their corner of the world in Maine, Irene’s family watched the rise of fascism and Irene’s family sent four boys to join into the battle against it in the Second World War. Irene worked as a switchboard operator in the telephone office and was proud to be selected to be part of the inaugural staff for the Kennebunk telephone office after she graduated high school. In October of 1947, wildfires burned across the state of Maine from Bar Harbor to Wells. Irene worked long shifts at the switchboard to help with the command and control against the fire which would ultimately consume hundreds of thousands of acres and destroy nine Maine towns altogether. Irene traveled to pre-revolutionary Cuba and was thrilled by the culture and new horizons it offered. These early experiences would resonate throughout Irene’s life— spirituality, education, service, and the value of free thought.

On October 21, 1955, Irene married Ernest A. Tarbox, Jr., and had eight children—Ernest, Carl, Gregory, John, James, Laura, Bill and Joel. She was a grandmother to 14, and a great grandmother to two. As her family grew, Irene impressed on them the value of self-improvement becoming adept in topics as wide ranging as technology, construction and art, but always seasoned with a quick wit and reassuring smile. Irene took continuing education courses, volunteered and found her vocation as a good listener for people who needed someone to talk to. Irene visited Ireland with her sisters and France when children were studying abroad. Her children’s and friends’ activities took her all over New England and the United States with repeat visits to California where half of her children settled. Irene was an avid reader and crossworder making her a formidable scrabble player.

Irene is survived by her children, grandchildren, great-grand children and sister Joanne Murray and her partner Dennis Griffin of Keene, New Hampshire.


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