Irene Hieber, 91, of Bucyrus, died peacefully July 12, 2022 at her home.
Irene was born June 22, 1931 in Lykens, Ohio to the late Clarence A. and Anna (Schimpf) Brause. She was a 1949 graduate of Lykens High School. Irene married the late E. Richard “Dick” Hieber, June 18, 1950. He preceded her in death May 24, 2015.
Born of sturdy, diligent, no-nonsense, Lutheran German- American farm stock, Irene’s primary mission on earth was to be a caregiver. This started in her early teen years when her mother, Anna, was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. Irene and her sister Doris became central to sustaining a household on the farm during much harder times. Mother Anna persevered through her physical pain with grace and light, teaching us all a great lesson that Irene learned well in helping her traverse many of her own difficult life situations. This set the stage for Irene’s continual parenting and caregiving that lasted literally the rest of her life. Her parenting started in a humble setting in Lykens, for herself, Dick, and then two sons Mike and Randy. She would grow much of the food they would eat in her bountiful garden; something she would continue to do for much of her life. Honing her seamstress skills while working at Vasil Clothing Factory early in her marriage, she created beautifully crafted clothing for generations of her family and others that would call upon her services. Her family grew as they moved to Route 19 and added Janie to the fold. Irene and Dick provided spiritual support through gathering the flock for church each Sunday, attending Lutheran churches in Chatfield and Bucyrus most of her life. Her caregiving did not end with just nurturing her busy family. As her parents grew elderly, she took on increasing care for them throughout the rest of their lives. Her helping others extended beyond her own children as they grew into adulthood and had their own children. She provided repeated and regular assistance in helping support her mother-in-law Blanche, Aunt Sophie, Aunt Ruth, and Mary Speigel to their last days. As Dick battled through his own challenges with physical pain, Irene was there for him every step of the way, being a loving wife for 65 years. This caregiving has continued to her very last days in an intimate way with the embracing of Misty, Marlie, and Mia.
With caregiving and parenting her central focus in life, it did not leave much time for idle pleasures, as it was rare indeed to not find Irene doing something productive, a Brause trait. One of the most enjoyable times in her life was when she teamed with Dick to search for hidden treasures, with her refinishing furniture alongside Dick’s caning of chairs. They loved to go to garage sales and auctions to bring beautiful new life to tired but solid furniture and eventually started selling their creations at area flea markets. As this passionate hobby grew into a “new career” for them, their love of treasure hunting continued by working with an auctioneer to get houses ready for auction. They would regale family with many a story of what they would reveal in these home explorations, as Irene was indeed a gifted storyteller. This also dovetailed nicely with Irene’s love of getting a good deal and she was a discount shopper supreme, reveling in how much of a sale she could find. The family is still blessed with the fruits of this phase of their life.
The last of the siblings from Anna and Clarence, Irene always valued the ties that bound Donald, Harlan, Dale, and Doris together unto death. As this generation passes on, let us uphold their traditions, their faith, and their values as best we can to honor their legacy.
Irene is survived by her two sons, Michael (Kathy) Hieber of Hamilton, Ohio and Randall (Beckie) Hieber of Bucyrus; five grandchildren, Misty Blue of Bucyrus, Leanna Hieber of New York State, Kelsey Hieber of Denver, Colorado, Ryan (Andrea) Hieber of Perrysburg, and Rich (Tara) Hieber of Delaware, Ohio; and eight great-grandchildren. In addition to her husband Dick, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Janeen Ritchie, siblings, Donald, Harlan, and Dale Brause, and Doris Honsberger, and her parents.
Irene’s family will be respecting her wishes for a private service. Memorial contributions can be made payable to Avita Hospice or Wynford Band Boosters and sent to Wise Funeral Service. Photos and memories can be shared on her tribute wall.