Irene Mathews, 75, of Fountain Hills passed away peacefully on Aug. 6, 2019. Irene was born Sept. 12, 1943 in San Francisco, Calif., to Pearl (Kinman) and Harold Buschke. Irene was the younger sister to twins Carol (Buschke) Thomas and Thomas Buschke.
Irene graduated from Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. in 1962 and, shortly thereafter, met the love of her life, James P. Mathews – the best man at her sister’s wedding. Jim and Irene married in August 1963 and have shared nearly 56 years of their lives together. They had two children – Chris and Carrie – and innumerable dogs, cats and other animals over the years.
Irene received her bachelor’s degree in business from Sacramento State College and her Master’s in Business Administration from University of Phoenix. She worked in the field of contracts management in the defense and research sectors, and was active in the National Contract Management Association. She began and ended her career at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., retiring in 2002 after 19 years with the lab.
In the 1980s, Irene worked at Goodyear Aerospace in Goodyear, Ariz., where she played a significant role in managing contracts to upgrade the radar systems used on the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft.
Irene enjoyed working in her garden, camping with her family, singing, dancing, reading, traveling and jigsaw puzzles.
Irene is survived by her loving husband, Jim Mathews; daughter, Carrie Mathews; son, Chris Mathews (Sue Solberg); grandchildren, Kelsey Smith and Matthew Smith, and Diana Mathews-Solberg; sisters-in-law, Ruth Strickler and Mary Ann Mathews; nieces, Linda Buschke and Ann Thomas; and nephews William and Fred Thomas.
She will be remembered for her thoughtful, generous spirit, devotion to family and sweet, gentle soul. Donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of America.
Graveside services will be held for the family. Messinger in Fountain Hills is handling the arrangements and remembrances may be posted at their website.