Irena M. DeBacker

July 2, 1924 ~ October 8, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old

Irena DeBacker Obituary


In Loving Memory of
Irena M. 

age 99
Irena was predeceased by her
 husband Edmund.
She is lovingly remembered by her children Donald, Diane, and Katherine, 
as well as their families. 

October 8, 2023
Westview Lodge
Boissevain, Manitoba

A private interment will 
be held at the 
Boissevain Cemetery.  


Donations in memory of Irena may be 
made to Boissevain Palliative Care, 
or to Westview Lodge.

Irena Martha DeBacker (DeDobbelaere) passed away peacefully October 8, 2023 at Westview Lodge surrounded by her family.

Irena was born July 2, 1924 in Hooglede, Belgium to a strong Belgian family and in 1928 made the trip across the ocean by steam liner along with 2 sisters and her mother Margaretha to meet with her father Cyril in Canada. Irena was the second oldest of 5 girls; 2 of which she travelled with from Belgium; Ghislaine and Germaine, and 2 of which were later born in Canada; Yvonne and Clarice.

The family farmed outside of Minto, MB and hard work was a part of everyday life for Irena, as she worked the fields with her father, tending to the crops with her own team of Clydesdale horses. She carried this extraordinary work ethic into adulthood as she worked in many shops and retails in the area. She engrained the value of hard work into her family and to this day each one of us can say that we learned this from both her and grandpa’s example.

In 1943 Irena married Edmund Joseph DeBacker and together they celebrated their rich Belgian heritage and deep commitment to their family and friends. They moved first to Winnipeg, and then settled in Boissevain where they farmed for a few years after they married. Donald August was born in 1945, followed by Diane Emily fourteen months later. In 1958 Katherine Marguerite was born, completing their family. Once their farming journey was done, they moved into Boissevain where they worked and became dedicated members of the community, moving only once more to Brandon in 1963 and back to Boissevain for good in 1967.

Their years together brought many memorable moments including the birth of 6 grandchildren and many great grandchildren. They shared a common thread in their golden years – where their family was so were they, whether it was in body, or in spirit. Ever encouraging, ever supporting. Sadly, Edmund passed away in 2004 leaving an empty space in their home, however Irena kept busy with her routine and hobbies. She was a creature of habit, loving the simple things in life like a warm bowl of vegetable soup or a finished needle point picture for one of the grandchildren. She enjoyed knitting and needle point, making small baby blankets for infants at the Brandon Hospital and babies of close friends and family. She created many latch hook wall hangings and was famous amongst those who knew her for her small garden and her green thumb with impatience plants.

In 2016 Irena moved from the home she shared with Edmund on Cook Street to the Westview Lodge where she became known as a fiercely independent and kind resident. She loved the gardens outside of her window, something she enjoyed looking at while chatting with family by phone outside during the pandemic. She spent her days puzzling, knitting and keeping track of everyone’s birthdays for which she already had a card that would be sent by mail, never failing to forget the many occasions to celebrate with those she loved. We were truly blessed to have been loved by Irena, 99 years seemed far too short a time to spend with such a strong and loving soul, however we are comforted knowing that she is surrounded now by as much love as she gave, spending what must be perfect time with Edmund, her parents and family.

Irena was predeceased by her husband Edmund, son-in-law Donald Robins, parents Margaretha and Cyril, and sisters Ghislaine and Yvonne. Left this side of heaven to celebrate her life are her children Donald (Pat), Diane and Katherine (Bill), her sisters Germaine and Clarice, her six grandchildren and their spouses and many great grandchildren.

A private family internment will be held at the Boissevain Cemetery, active pallbearers will be Trevor Robins, Chaz Robins, Adam Potter, Bill Bawtinhimer, Troy Luhowy and James Rolfe. Honorary pallbearers will be all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren that so dearly loved their grandma D.

Friends who wish may make a donation to the Westview Lodge or Boissevain Palliative Care. Our deepest gratitude to those who cared for Irena at Westview Lodge, and to those who share our sorrow in the loss of Irena.

Your mother is always with you…

She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.

She’s the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks.

She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not well.

Your mother lives inside your laughter …

She’s crystallized in every tear drop.

She’s the place you came from, your first home.

She’s the map you follow with every step that you take.

She’s your first love and your first heartbreak.

And nothing on earth can separate you…

Not time, not space, not even death will ever separate you from your mother.

You carry her inside of you.


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