Life Story / Obituary
A dedicated woman with a deep desire to make a place in the world, Irene McColpin-Lentenbrink-Noteboom lived a full and happy life. She thoroughly enjoyed her loved ones and friends. Irene was a spirited soul, and we will never forget her.
Irene began her life in the year of 1917. This year proved to bring many conflicts to a direct head. President Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany after a plot was uncovered to attack America. For women, in particular, this period of time marked the continuous desire for more of a voice in the world. They made strides when the first woman became an official member of Congress. Women's right to vote was still a few years away. As an entertaining distraction, Jazz music was a popular choice, and the art of letter writing was treasured - costing a mere 3 cents to send using the postal service.
Irene's ancestors traveled from Ireland and Scotland in the 1700's to make a home in America. A few centuries later, in Robinson, Illinois, Robert and Amy (Larkin) McColpin celebrated the first days of the year with a new and precious life. Their daughter, Irene, was welcomed into the world on January 1, 1917. Not long after her birth, the family moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1918.
She spent her childhood days playing and enjoying the life in the early 1900's. As she matured, she began to create a place in the world for herself. She proudly graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School with the class of 1934. Two years later she celebrated her marriage to Claude Lentenbrink. The newlyweds moved to a small apartment on S. Burdick Street followed by moving to a home on Ranney St. Early on in their marriage, Irene worked at a bakery while Claude found a job at the Bryant Paper Mill. During wartime in 1941, he switched employers moving to Detroit to work at the Chrysler Motor Company. The couple stayed there until 1944 when they returned to Kalamazoo.
Together, they entered the adventures of parenthood welcoming three children into the world. Tom, Mary, and Diane kept their parents on their toes. While raising a family, Irene and Claude bought a restaurant. Irene and Martha ran the restaurant. Claude also opened an auto repair garage with his brother, Bob.
Irene was not one to settle in without a bigger plan. She began attending Parsons Business College where she eventually earned her real estate license. This was a good profession for Irene, as she was interested in staying an active part of the community. She was one of the first women on the Kalamazoo Board of Realtors in 1960 and continued building her career for 35 years. Later, she would share her passion for real estate with her daughter, for they partnered together for many years. Upon retirement, she became an honorary member of the Board.
Irene kept a close group of girlfriends in her life. She was a longtime member of the official "Card Club" which spanned 60 years of time. At the start of the club, there were 12 members. Irene outlasted every one of them throughout the years. She loved playing Pinochle with the group, and each member was a dear friend.
Irene faced some difficult times in life when Claude passed away in 1983. With the support of her friends and family, she was able to find the goodness in life again. She continued to hold the memories of Claude close to her heart. After some time, her heart began to heal. This created a peace within that opened her mind to love once again. She married John Noteboom in 1989.
The two shared a mature love which was delightful in many ways. They spent time traveling with the VFW's traveling group. Each year they looked forward to visiting the hometown of each of the members. John passed away at the age of 88 leaving Irene to seek comfort in her loved ones again. She carried cherished memories of love in her heart from then on.
There were many occasions for celebration in Irene's life. She was given the gift of joyfully welcoming grandchildren into the world. Carrie, Jessica, Bryan, Jennie, Katie, and Chris all held a special place in her heart. Later, she also welcomed great grandchildren; Ashley, Toni, Bradly, and Little Tom. Irene left this world knowing that another great-grandchild was on the way. So much young life to appreciate and enjoy and Irene loved each and every one of them.
When Irene was not entertaining friends' company, she looked forward to the next Detroit Tigers game, as she was an avid fan. She never missed a game. She also enjoyed the furry company of her Calico cat named Gracie. The two became inseparable one day when Irene stopped for lunch in Vicksburg. Gracie happened to be there too. Irene paid $18 for her, and the friendship was cemented from that day forward.
Irene was a member of Trinity Reformed Church in Kalamazoo where she stayed until they closed down. She was also a member of the Antwerp Senior Center in Mattawan. She enjoyed being social, as she had many friends. Under the unfortunate circumstances of an accidental fall, she moved to Crossroads Village. This move proved to be a blessing, however, because she was able to attend many social events and make many new friends. These new friends created a welcomed support in her life and made for great Bingo groups. Irene continued to live independently all the way through to 100 years young. She celebrated her 100th birthday in the company of many friends and relatives.
Irene McColpin-Lentenbrink-Noteboom made quite an impression in this life. She lived for over a century and witnessed an ever-changing world. Sadly, Irene passed away peacefully on November 26, 2017. We will seek comfort in our shared memories of her long and successful life with us. She will be missed greatly.
Irene was preceded in death by her daughter, Diane; husbands Claude Lentenbrink and John Noteboom; and brother Emeral (Maxine) McColpin.
Please visit with her family and friends on Friday, December 1st from 11-12pm at the Life Story Funeral Home, 5975 Lovers Lane (269-344-5600).
A funeral service will immediately follow.