We Remember

LAIDLAW, Irene Marie

Irene Laidlaw, affectionately known as “Ike”, passed away peacefully on November 18, 2020, in her home at the age of 85, with her loving family by her side.  She will be sadly missed by her daughter Wendi (Ron) Harding and grandchildren Jason Harding and Paige (Jeff) Cox, all of Kelowna; as well as her son Barry (Sandy) Laidlaw and grandchildren Cassidy Laidlaw and Quinn Laidlaw of Calgary.  Irene’s son Randy, who passed away in 1984, will be lovingly embracing her with his long outstretched arms once again.  Irene’s husband Richard “Dick”, who passed away in 2010, would have celebrated his birthday on November 19th. It is our belief that Ike wanted him to have the greatest birthday present she could give – to be by his side again forever.

Irene was the youngest daughter of Ellen and Albert Kurtz; sister to Dorothy Hall (Ron), Rita Tracey (Jim), James Kurtz, Ralph Kurtz, and Gerald Kurtz (Doreen); and sister-in-law Carol Sanvido, all who have passed before her.  She is survived by her only living sibling Wilfred (Dorothy) Kurtz; sisters-in-law Helen Kurtz and Ruth Kurtz; brother-in-law Reno Sanvido; as well as many nieces and nephews – all of whom will miss Auntie Ike dearly.

Ike was born in Guelph, ON, on August 8, 1935 – the youngest of 7 children.  When Ike was in her late teens, she worked at the Sally Shop in Guelph which is where she met her future husband and eternal life-mate Dick, a strapping young advertising delivery boy for the Guelph Mercury.  They married in 1954 in Guelph and then moved to Kirkland Lake, ON where they started their family of 3 children.  The family then moved around, going back to Guelph and then Trenton ON, before “heading west” to Kamloops, BC in 1969.  Ike, Dick and Barry moved to Calgary, AB in 1977 with Ike and Dick finally retiring to Kelowna, BC in 1990.

In all the cities Ike lived, she not only carried on a professional career but contributed tirelessly into her volunteer efforts with Beta Sigma Phi – an international organization embracing Life, Learning & Friendship – qualities that she lived daily.  She originally joined Beta Sigma Phi in 1967 and over the past 50 years has held every position from President to Member Advisor multiple times. Her extensive contribution to Beta Sigma Phi was recognized with many honours including, Woman of the Year and the ultimate International Award of Distinction. Beta Sigma Phi will miss a truly exceptional lady and giving member.

Irene was also an artistic crafter and extraordinary seamstress.  So many people benefited from her many talents with window treatments, convention attire, Christmas décor, Calgary Stampede outfits, as well as her daughter’s wedding dress and granddaughters first day of school outfit, to name a few.  She has also hosted so many events – Legacy Teas with Beta Sigma Phi, Stampede Breakfasts, Conventions, Charity Gift Wrap Projects, Hospice Calendar Projects, Red Alert Programs, Curling Bonspiels, and of course, Dick’s Annual Golf Tournament.

Give, give, give was Irene’s mantra in life.  Tirelessly through her actions, reaching out to positively impact everyone she touched.  Doing for others and not asking for anything in return.  Do all the work, let others take the spotlight, then stand in the background with humility and honour.  The world has lost a very special person. She has made all of our lives better – for that we will be eternally grateful.

Due to COVID restrictions, a private family Funeral Mass will be held at Immaculate Conception Church in Kelowna, with Interment at the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery to follow, where she will be laid to rest beside her husband Dick and son Randy. Date is yet to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, www.heartandstroke.ca, or the BC Cancer Foundation, www.bccancer.bc.ca.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

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Heart and Stroke Foundation or the BC Cancer Foundation Link: www.heartandstroke.ca, www.bccancer.bc.ca




  • Rusty Lovelock says:

    I remember when Irene lived next door with husband Dick on Harrison Ave. She & my mother Rita (deceased) could keep the neighbourhood movin with their coffees & cigarettes
    I remember when Irene & Dick lived next door on Harrison Ave Guelph many moons ago. She & my mum Rita (deceased) could sure keep the neighbourhood movin with their coffee & cigarettes. I would have been in high school at the time —
    over 60 yrs ago
    God bless her

  • Ken Soderberg says:

    Condolences to your family on the passing of Irene (Ike) , She was indeed a great lady. I so enjoyed the time she worked with me in Calgary and the fun that was had at house parties she and Dick hosted .
    Regards Ken Soderberg

  • Patti and Lloyd Congdon says:

    Wendi and family , we are so sorry to hear of your moms passing ! She was such a lovely soul , I remember her from sorority and the Rockets games with your dad and friends!

  • Bev Keller Olton says:

    Wendi and family, so sad to hear about your Mom, so many good memories starting on Harrison Ave , Trenton and Calgary. very talented lady sewing everything from baton uniforms to entire bridal. parties. I always hoped she knew how grateful I was when she and your Dad let me stay with them in Calgary. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Love Bev and family . Maybe we could talk 1-519-836-5274

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