Irene Cecilia Soper (neé Ebling), 79, died peacefully, surrounded by family, November 8, 2019, at The Homestead in Penn Yan.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Penn Yan at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16. Attendees are asked to wear a bit of color to help celebrate Irene’s zest for life.

Donations may be made to Alzheimer’s Association in Irene’s memory.

Irene was born June 12, 1940, in Jamaica, Queens. She was the daughter of Louis D. and Sabina C. Ebling (neé Heath). After graduating from high school, Irene worked a number of different jobs, including IBM, at the 1965 World Expo in New York City, and also notably as a model for the Eileen Ford Modeling Agency, also in New York.

In 1966, Irene married the love of her life, Howard, who she met through inter-parish bowling, and they began a new life chapter together. During this time, while raising young children, she ran an after-school daycare from their home.

After the family moved from fast-paced Long Island to Penn Yan, Irene again worked outside the home, as a nutritionist for Cornell Cooperative Extension, and for many years until her retirement in 2005, as a family worker for Head Start. She found this last job extremely fulfilling, allowing her to provide essential help to many families in need. Irene and Howard both had a strong faith and connection to their local parish and community and Irene was involved in many ministries as well as serving as a Catholic Daughter.

Always having to manage a tight budget, Irene enjoyed thrift shopping and taking pride in stretching a dollar to the furthest degree possible. She also enjoyed antiquing and discovering the value of family heirlooms. Having a daughter overseas provided opportunities for enjoyable journeys abroad to Italy, England, Ireland, and Scotland. Her most enjoyable hobby, however, was connecting with people, whether it was on the phone or getting together with friends, always remembering birthdays, or regularly sending things in the mail to her children and friends, with a tag stating “from Mom’s clipping service,” or “FYI.”

Irene was a loving and devoted mother, and a perfect partner to Howard, whether going on one of many summertime camping trips, attending a sporting or musical event or helping to create the magic of Christmas for their four children. She also enjoyed spending time with her cherished grandchildren.

She is predeceased by her husband, Vincent Howard Soper of 49 years, and survived by her children, John (Crystal), of Allentown, Pa., Paul (Brian Collins), of Ithaca, Jeanmarie of Ithaca, and Mary (Mark McBryan), of Glasgow, Scotland; grandchildren Amy, Jack, Callum, Gabriel, and Ronan.