Born Dec. 18, 1927, in Roland, Manitoba, Canada, Irene Mary Webster DesAutels died peacefully at her home at Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids on the morning of Nov. 8, 2010. Irene was the youngest of four children.

Family, church and education were focal points throughout Irene's life. Following graduation from the University of Manitoba in 1950 Irene traveled to Japan to teach English as a member of the Women's Missionary Society of the United Church of Canada. During her three years abroad, Irene became proficient in Japanese language.

In 1953 Irene was married to William "Bill" Walter DesAutels in Kofu, Japan. Upon their return to the U.S. Irene and Bill continued in their shared love of the Christian ministry together.

Irene became a naturalized U.S. citizen and was a mother, homemaker, and community and church volunteer while Bill served in ministerial positions with the United Methodist Church in Galien, Lansing, St. Louis, Traverse City and Grand Rapids.

Irene also held positions as a fourth grade teacher, secretary, minister, youth group counselor and Bible studies instructor.

Throughout her life Irene offered special support to children and to the elderly. She was a model of unconditional love and care for mankind. The DesAutels' home was always open to those in need, including numerous foreign exchange students.

In 1979 Irene received her master's degree in education from Grand Valley State College. Most recently she served as a volunteer tutor to young people at the Martin Luther King Leadership Academy in Grand Rapids.

Since 2003 Irene enjoyed the camaraderie of loving friends and the care of the devoted staff at Clark Retirement Community.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, David and Wendy DesAutels, of Empire; daughter, Kathy Way, of East Lansing; grandchildren, Travis and Lane DesAutels, Evan and Caitlin Way; and granddaughter-in-law, Courtney Buck.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, Nov. 20, at 11 a.m., at First United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids. The family will greet friends and relatives following the service.

Cards may be sent in care of Metcalf and Jonkhoff Funeral Service.

Memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids or Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids.

The family is being served by Metcalf and Jonkhoff Funeral Service, 4291 Cascade Road SE at Kenmoor, east of I-96; www.metcalfandjonkhoff.com.

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