Irene Ethel Welch, 83, passed away January 6, 2012, at home with her family, friends and animals surrounding her.

Irene was born December 26, 1928, in Saratoga, Calif., to William P. and Ethel M. Juhl. She met the love of her life, Bill, while on horseback one day. They got married April 16, 1948, in San Leandro, Calif.

Irene had a passion for animals and spent her entire life raising any and all kinds. She also had a passion and love for children. She worked as a secretary, principal and teacher in several different school districts up and down the West Coast and was always involved with youth wherever she was.

Irene is survived by her daughter, Teri; son, John; grandson, Jeremy (Mae); and all of her friends she always considered family. She was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Bill; her parents; a sister; and a brother.

Thanks to all the doctors, nurses and caregivers who were very near and dear to her heart.

A memorial for Irene will be held 2:30 p.m., Saturday, January 21, 2012, at Litwiller Simonsen Funeral Home, 1811 Ashland Street, Ashland, Ore.

Arrangements under the direction of Litwiller Simonsen Funeral Home, Ashland, Ore., www.litwillersimonsen.com.