Irene Strong

  • Irene Strong
    Irene Strong

Vyrl Irene (Campbell) Strong was born on the family farm south of Giltner on Dec. 8, 1920. She passed away on Dec. 28, 2020 at the age of 100. 
A memorial service will be held at the First Christian Church in Aurora at a later date. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8 at the Aurora Cemetery. Rev. Penny Schulz will officiate. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 7 at Higby-McQuiston Mortuary. Due to COVID, the family will not be present. Current CDC guidelines will be in effect with facemasks required. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Christian Church. Higby-McQuiston Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family through the mortuary website at 
Irene was the daughter of Melvin F. and Dora (Marvel) Campbell. She was baptized at the Giltner Christian Church in 1932 and graduated from Giltner High School in 1937 as class valedictorian. She attended Kearney State Teachers College earning an associate degree in education plus earning additional hours from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She taught full time for 11 years at Giltner, Tecumseh and York and 15 years as a substitute teacher in Aurora and surrounding towns. She provided 1,000 hours of tutoring in the Adult Basic Education program, helping several earn their G.E.D. In addition, she provided private tutoring to about 50 students attending school in Aurora.
She married Earl L. Strong Aug. 24, 1946 at the home of her brother, Dale, near Giltner. 
After moving to Aurora, she joined the Aurora Christian Church where she served in many capacities. She believed in serving with excitement and enthusiasm wherever needed. Irene served as choir director for 21 years, taught the high school class for 12 years and later the adult Sunday School class for another 12 years. She served on the church board, served as church librarian, and was a deacon and deaconess. She was active in Christian Women’s Fellowship (CWF) serving terms as president and circle leader many times. She served her church as a district representative and Regional President of CWF as well as serving on the regional board and International CWF Board, Interchurch Ministries Board, and Cotner College Board.
Irene was a member of the Aurora Women’s Club for over 60 years where she served locally as president of the Jr. Department, District Jr. Director, District treasurer and President of the General Club. She also served as state chairman of the Safety/Community Improvement program.
She served as a Cub Scout leader as long as her sons were in scouting. She was a member of the Nebraska Women for Highway Safety where she worked diligently for regulations promoting the use of seat belts and child safety seats. Irene was a member of the Retired Teacher’s Association, Hamilton Manor Auxiliary, American Legion Auxiliary, and Church Women United and at various times served as president in each of these organizations. She also served as President of the Giltner Alumni. She enjoyed working as a guide at the Plainsman Museum for many years where she was a lifetime member. Irene was honored as Women of the Year for this area in 1958 and Merit Mother of the Year by the American Mother’s Association in 1982.
Irene was an avid reader. She organized and helped in the summer Story Hour at the public library until the library assumed that responsibility. She also served Books on Wheels in behalf of the Aurora Women’s Club, taking books to the nursing home and Crossroads Court.
Irene recently celebrated her 100th birthday and was so pleased to be remembered with cards, notes and calls from so many friends and family members.
She is survived by her sons, Ronald Wayne (Jeannie) of Webster, N.Y. and Alan Dale of Huntsville, Texas, three grandchildren, Laura (Jason) Schunk, Adam (Natalie) Strong, and Emily (Andy) Freedman, great-grandchildren Riley and Logan Freedman, Derek Strong and William Schunk, all of Rochester, N.Y., and many nieces, nephews, and friends. 
She was preceded in death by her husband, Earl, March 5, 1995, brothers Murlin Campbell in 2002 and Dale Campbell in 2011. Both parents are deceased.

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